Over the six weeks that the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial passed off within the US, the previous couple leveled a number of critical allegations in opposition to one another. Particulars about bodily and sexual abuse, verbal threats, substance habit, trashed rooms and damaged bottles had been introduced forth of their testimonies, portray an image of a wedding during which each events harm one another. Whereas the jury ponders over the proof that was introduced within the courtroom earlier than it pronounces its verdict, there’s one factor that’s already clear: These following the trial on-line handled the stark frames of the breakdown of a wedding as a spectacle to be pruriently consumed.
The wedding had come aside and led to 2017. All the pieces that occurred subsequently — Depp’s libel go well with in opposition to the UK tabloid The Solar for calling him a “spouse beater”, Heard’s Washington Put up op-ed during which she described herself as “a public determine representing home abuse”, and the defamation case that resulted in a highly-scrutinised trial — resulted from private choices made by two people in contexts that nobody outdoors of their relationship will ever totally know. However that didn’t appear to matter in any respect to these watching.
Even earlier than the opening arguments had been made, the truth that each Depp and Heard are celebrities — Hollywood actors with starring elements in main movie franchises — indicated that the case could be intently adopted by the general public. How intently solely grew to become evident as soon as the trial started and was dwell streamed on display screen everywhere in the world, notably within the vicious trolling of Heard, the much less well-known and highly effective of the 2. Thousands and thousands of memes, TikToks, and hashtags crowded timelines, revealing, in all its starkness, an unsightly obsession with being entertained in any respect prices, together with at the price of the dignity of the 2 individuals within the marriage and the courtroom.
This editorial first appeared within the print version on June 1, 2022 underneath the title ‘The fact present’