Amber Heard addressed the outsized role social media played in her recent defamation trial with Johnny Depp, telling Today in a new interview, “You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair.”
The six-week defamation trial, which Depp won earlier this month, spawned a deluge of social media activity, especially on Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. The vast majority of it, as has been widely reported, seemed to favor Depp; for instance, TikTok videos with the #justiceforjohnnydepp have racked up nearly 20 billion views, compared to the 80 million views garnered by those with #justiceforamberheard.
“Even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation,” Heard said in a preview of her interview, which will air in two parts Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14 and 15, and as an hour-long Dateline special on Friday, June 17.
Since the verdict came in, lawyers for Depp and Heard have sparred over whether social media had any influence on the jury, which was ordered not to read or research the case but was also not fully sequestered during the lengthy trial. Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, previously told Today, “There’s no way they couldn’t have been influenced by it,” noting jurors got a 10-day break in the middle of the trial for a judicial conference and went home every night to their families who “are on social media.” Depp’s lawyer, Ben Chew, called Bredehoft’s statement “disappointing” and said, “I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that the jurors violated their oath.”
Heard, in her new interview, was asked about the jury’s ultimate decision that she did defame Depp in a 2018 op-ed in which she did not mention the actor by name but spoke about her experience with domestic abuse. While both Heard and Depp accused each other of abuse throughout the trial, the jury’s decision seemed to suggest they doubted Heard’s claims even as she presented photos of her injuries, video recordings of Depp’s meltdowns, and witness testimony corroborating her claims. But despite all that, Heard said she didn’t blame the jury for reaching their ultimate conclusion.
“How could they make a judgment, how could they not come to that conclusion? They sat in those seats and heard over three weeks of non-stop, relentless testimony from paid employees and, towards the end of the trial, randos,” Heard said, ostensibly alluding to the witnesses in Depp’s corner. She added, “I don’t blame them, I actually understand. He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor.”