The defamation trial between Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Aquaman (2018) star Amber Heard, lasted seven long weeks in a Fairfax County, Virginia courtroom.
Ultimately, the Court found Heard defamed Depp by publicly accusing him of domestic abuse. The jury found that Depp proved Heard lied about her allegations and awarded him $15 million.
In Heard’s countersuit against Depp, the jury found that Depp’s former attorney, Adam Waldman, publicly defamed her. The jury ordered Depp to pay his ex-wife $2 million in compensatory damages.
The Edward Scissorhands (1990) star sued Heard for $50 million for defamation after she wrote an Op-Ed for The Washington Post in which she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse. Heard countersued for $100 million, arguing that he “defamed her when his former lawyer released statements saying her allegations of abuse were a hoax.”
Pirates of the Caribbean fans have been vocal about their support for Mr. Depp during the defamation trial against Ms. Heard. On the other hand, Heard testified to receiving death threats from Depp supporters. She told the jury she was “harassed, humiliated, threatened every single day.” She testified that people “want to put [her] baby in the microwave.”
According to a new study from Bot Sentinel, an organization that works to detect misinformation and harassment on social media, Depp fans perpetrated some of the worst harassment and Twitter cyberbullying the organization has ever seen.
The group found that 3,288 accounts were Tweeting statements like #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser, #AmberHeardLsAnAbuser, #AmberHeardIsALiar, and #AmberHeardLsALiar. 19% of those accounts existed solely to Tweet about the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial.
Depp trolls, as Bot Sentinel calls them, didn’t just go after Heard. The report states, “Women who tweeted in support of Amber Heard were subjected to rampant abuse and targeted harassment on Twitter.”
In one horrific instance, Bot Sentinel says, “Someone used a photo of a woman’s deceased child to create a fake account and troll the woman because she tweeted in support of Amber Heard.”
According to the study, “toxic trolls” continued to harass women who voiced support for Heard weeks after the trial ended.
It’s important to note that while Ms. Heard’s legal team hired Bot Sentinel in 2020 to study social media activity against the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023) star, this 2022 report is independent:
“Neither Amber Heard nor anyone from her team hired Bot Sentinel to review the activity. No one hired Bot Sentinel to compile and publish this report.”
You can read the full report from Bot Sentinel here.