Internet | May 17, 2022 2:04 pm

The Depp vs. Heard Trial Is Making These Content Creators Famous

It turns out the easiest way to boost engagement is to join the media circus surrounding the trial

Amber Heard (L) and Johnny Depp watch as the jury leaves the courtroom at the end of the day at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, May 16, 2022.
Amber Heard (L) and Johnny Depp watch as the jury leaves the courtroom at the end of the day at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, May 16, 2022.
STEVE HELBER via Getty

Remember the internet before the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation case? Remember being able to scroll through Twitter, TikTok or YouTube without being confronted with videos of spectators cheering Johnny Depp as he drove into court or compilations of his most savage moments in the courtroom? 

Sadly, those days are long gone, and content creators have caught on to the fact that posting about the trial will help boost engagement. One 15-year-old, interviewed for NBC News, said that once he pivoted to making pro-Depp trial coverage content, he began to receive millions of views, explaining that he “saw this Amber Heard trial, and I saw how people were blowing up off it, so I decided, ‘You know what, I can probably try this, too.’…I just started uploading on it, and it worked.”

Even cosmetics brand Milani jumped in on the discourse. Now, social media-savvy lawyers are jumping into the mix. 

From analyzing body language to critiquing Heard’s legal team, criminal defense lawyer Bruce Rivers has garnered millions of views on his trial coverage, explaining in an interview for Input that even though things like body language analysis are considered legal pseudoscience,  “in the court of public opinion, we can say pretty much whatever we want. It’s just entertainment.” Another legal expert says that they made over $15,000 from their YouTube channel in the last 28 days. Yet another says that they were making “a bingo card for things we think they’ll ask [Amber Heard] on cross-examination.”

Trial by TV has been a part of the legal landscape for decades now. In the ’90s, OJ Simpson’s murder trial was on cable news networks around the clock, making it one of the most-watched television events of the century. What we’re seeing now with Depp vs. Heard is one of the first trials by social media; the court of public opinion isn’t just held in a living room — it’s wherever you can use your phone.

While there are certain rules about what can make it on a television screen, there are more loopholes on social media to get around content restrictions. Edited content of the trial is racking up millions of views and interactions, making the creators behind it unlikely to stop posting it. Rivers himself said that with Heard on the stand now, “It’s like frickin’ candy. A great cross-examination is better than sex — it’s like a symphony or dessert.”