For the past several weeks, social media has been flooded with two faces: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Tea Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s international fanbase has taken full advantage of a courtroom livestream with memes that revel in Heard’s every twisted expression—and influencers have even staged “comedic” re-enactments in the name of clout-chasing.
Apart from a few stalwarts like Winona Ryder, Paul Bettany, and Kate Moss, who testified on his behalf, celebrity support for Depp has been muted—literally, it seems.
A-list Twitter stayed mostly silent Wednesday, when a Circuit Court in Fairfax County, Virginia, ruled that Heard was liable for defaming Depp in a 2018 washington post op-ed. (The court also ruled in favor of one of Heard’s counterclaims against Depp, whose attorney at one point called her allegations a “hoax.”) The jury awarded Depp damages totaling $15 million ($10.35 million due to a state cap in punitive damages), and Heard is set to receive $2 million. While the celebs were not necessarily making a show out of posting #JusticeForJohnnyDepp on social media Wednesday, a surprising number of them have positively engaged with his and others’ posts celebrating the outcome.
Before we begin, an obvious caveat often seen on Twitter bios: “Likes” on social media do not necessarily equal endorsement. Also, it is a well-known fact that many celebs do not run their own ‘Grams—even if those accounts are verified. Still, one does have to wonder what would motivate a person, today of all days, to “like” Johnny Depp. And the list of those who have includes a few people you might not expect.
Celebrity accounts that The Daily Beast confirmed “liked” Depp’s statement on social media include LaKeith Stanfield, Zoe Saldana, Emma Roberts, Gemma Chan, Bella Hadid, Taika Waititi, Jennifer Aniston, Henry Golding, Joey King, Riley Keough, and Jason Momoa, who stars alongside Hear in the Aquaman movies.
Oddly enough, Momoa double-tapped Amber Heard’s Instagram statement as well.
Some stars opted not to “like” Depp’s post but did lend a little red heart to a separate post from Greg Williams Photography, a portrait photo of Depp which includes the caption “#youcantkeepagoodmandown”—Florence Pugh, Dakota Fanning, and her younger sister , The Great star Elle Fanning.
Other celebrities have been more overt in their aplomb. Naomi Campbell, pretty Little Liars alum Ashley Benson, and the DJ Zedd all responded to Depp’s post with heart emojis, as did Ryan Adams, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by a number of women, including Phoebe Bridgers and Mandy Moore.
The outcome of this trial, which humiliated Heard and will now cost her over $10 million in damages, has domestic violence advocates worried. Ruth Glenn, president and CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, told The Daily Beast she believes the sordid saga will have a “chilling effect” on future victims who might’ve come forward.
“I would ask the nation and your readers, would you think twice about coming forward after witnessing what’s happened?” Glenn said. “I don’t think that it will necessarily be the only thing that stops someone from seeking support and safety, but I can tell you it just adds another layer.”
A representative for the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) provided the following statement: “The outcome of this case may surface an array of emotions for survivors watching. Anyone needing support in the wake of this verdict can access free confidential support 24/7 at 800.656.HOPE (4673) and online.RAINN.org.”