As a survivor of domestic abuse, Ruth M. Glenn said watching the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp defamation case has been triggering.
It’s not that she believes one side over the other. It’s more that the inescapable memes and jokes on social media emanating from the trial have exacerbated the trauma of surviving abuse to another level.
Depp and Heard have been in a weeks-long battle in a Fairfax County, Virginia, courtroom. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor is suing Heard for $50 million in damages over a 2018 essay she wrote for The Washington Post in which she said she had become the “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although the essay never mentions Depp by name, his attorneys said it indirectly refers to allegations she made against him during their 2016 divorce. Heard is countersuing Depp, seeking $100 million in damages.
Glenn, who is the chief executive officer of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is among a contingency of social media users following the case who have been horrified by the way some on platforms like TikTok and Twitter have turned Heard’s testimony about alleged abuse she endured during her relationship with Depp into memes, jokes and lip syncs.
“I can’t imagine what this might be doing to someone who may eventually want to seek safety and support,” Glenn said. “Whether it’s Amber Heard or Johnny Depp, how dare us make fun and make light of someone who is sharing something very personal — no matter how we feel about that person.”
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Anyone affected by domestic violence can receive help, advice, information or crisis intervention by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visiting the website thehotline.org.