Johnny Depp And Amber Heard Defamation Trial Continues: Social Media Blurs The Lines Between...

Celebrity exes Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are currently engrossed in a multimillion dollar defamation trial. Depp has sued Heard for $50 million on defamation charges after Heard implied Depp abused her during their marriage, leading to him losing work and social standing. Heard has also counter-sued for $100 million.

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The defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has been saturating news headlines lately. Most recently, many sources on social media have claimed that Heard “copied” parts of her testimony from movies, specifically the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley. 

Heard took the stand on Friday May 6th in which she detailed the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of ex-husband Johnny Depp. Several media critics and social media users have alleged that Heard was “performing for the jury” and putting on an act to gain sympathy. Amid these allegations are claims that Heard’s testimony was “copied verbatim” from the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley. 

The 1999 film starred Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gweneth Paltrow, and several individuals online were quick to call out how parts of Heard’s testimony were word-for-word taken from parts of the script. One of the lines comes from Paltrow’s character Marge when she’s talking about the character Dickie (Law) to Ripley (Damon), Heard allegedly just replaced the name Dickie for Johnny in her testimonial.

“The thing with (Dickie)… it’s like the sun shines on you, and it’s glorious. And then he forgets you and it’s very, very cold.”

In the film, Marge says “the thing with Dickie … it’s like the sun shines on you, and it’s glorious. And then he forgets you and it’s very, very cold,” giving viewers of the trial all the evidence they needed to make the direct comparison. However, social media has a tendency to blow fake narratives out of proportion, but once those narratives go viral, it’s hard to stop users from running with them as facts. 

Hindustan Times did a full fact-check on Heard’s testimony to see if the quote was actually true or not. From what they found, Heard did not steal part of her testimony from the movie. Her language and tone is very similar to the line in question, however, the most she said was “When I was around Johnny I felt like the most beautiful person in the world, then he would disappear.”

Newsweek also performed their own independent fact-check on the trial and came out with a statement in which they concluded that Heard didn’t steal any line from the film.

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“The rumor that Amber Heard quoted the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley in her testimony is false, those phrases were not spoken during her testimony.”

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International fact-checking website Snopes analyzed a multitude of memes and claims on social media regarding the trial. The biggest “meme” they’ve investigated so far has to do with Heard “copying” her testimony from movies. 

“The meme says the quote came from Heard’s ‘opening statement’. This is an odd claim, however, in that it was Heard’s lawyer, not Heard herself, who made an opening statement on her behalf. Additionally, no video evidence of the actor saying that phrase has been presented,” Snopes explained. 

The ongoing trial was initially sparked by a 2018 newspaper article for the Washington Post in which Heard discussed being a survivor of domestic abuse, but had not named Depp specifically. Even though he wasn’t named directly, the timing of the interview heavily implied she was talking about the actor. 

Depp has since implicated Heard for damaging his career using false claims. Specifically, Depp was gearing up to return as Jack Sparrow in a planned Pirates of the Caribbean film, which has been put on hold since the publishing of the article in the Post. Depp was also replaced in the Fantastic Beasts film series. 

Depp and Heard initially met while shooting The Rum Diary. The pair married in 2015 but divorced less than two years later. Heard has alleged that she suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, a claim which Depp has continuously denied, and added that it was actually Heard who was the abuser in the relationship.