NEWS AND COMMENT: The Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard defamation trial which is being broadcast to the world from the court room in Fairfax County, Virginia is perfect material for imaginative video makers who’ve used it to create videos of all kinds including using domestic cats to mock this unseemly contest between two high-profile celebrities.
When the video includes a domestic cat as shown on this page people refer to them as cat memes. The word “meme” is a product of modern Internet usage. It means copying and reworking something into a video or an image and adding your style and flavour to it. People jump on the bandwagon and want to add their amusing words or photo-edited versions of the event which is exactly what is happening with this trial. And domestic cats are blended into these meme videos because historically cats are often used in this way.
And they are amusing. The videos entertain people. There are probably many thousands of them now, maybe hundreds of thousands, and they allow the video maker to acquire those much-desired millions of views which is their ultimate goal. This one has been seen 2 million times at the date of this post. This is a “I Was Walking Out of the Bedroom Meme”. There are lots of them. This is a cat version.
Heard said at trial:
“I was walking out of the bedroom, [he] slapped me across the face, and I turned to look at him. And I said, ‘Johnny, you hit me. You just hit me.'”
They don’t mind mocking Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. To many people these celebs are making fools of themselves. They are reporting on their seedy and disturbing lifestyle to the entire world from a court room. It’s the kind of information that should not be broadcast in this way. It’s destructive. Amber Heard has said that. She said that Johnny wants to destroy her. I sense that Johnny Depp simply wants to get the truth out and he looks very relaxed in the witness box.
People take sides. Looking at the responses I sense that the majority support Johnny Depp and that goes for a lot of women too.
But there’s a moral dimension because it mocks and exploits domestic violence. Is it right to take the piss out of domestic violence between two high-profile celebrities?
And is it right to use mock violence against the cat as we see in the video? Two good questions because both domestic violence and domestic cat abuse are very serious matters. They occur often and they should not be trivialised.
The truth is, though, that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are creating material on television which is perfect for a meme as it is pure entertainment. It’s as if they had scripted the event and it was being broadcast for prime-time television as a soap opera. You can hardly believe that it is a real trial. Perhaps it should have taken place behind closed doors (‘in camera’) but in America they tend to broadcast trials like this. I don’t think it would have happened this way in the UK.
Do these amusing videos encourage domestic violence and violence against cats? I’m not sure they do. They are clearly made to entertain. I sense that funny cat videos mimicking the trial and the statements made by Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are impliedly criticising the celebrities for airing their dirty linen in public. There is a message in the videos and it is: “Don’t air your dirty linen in public but try and sort out your problems in private and in a decent way”.
A lot of people see the absurdity of the trial which naturally lends itself to an absurd-looking funny video. All the meme videos based on this trial are criticising the participants for their foolhardy behaviour. That’s the serious side behind the funny cat videos.
Some background information
The Times reports, today, that Amber Heard has not given away her $7 million divorce payoff as promised. She admits that it’s true but she has to fund expensive litigation. She said that her marriage was violent and abusive and marred by Depp’s addictions. Depp is suing his former wife over a column in The Washington Post in 2018 in which she said that she was a victim of domestic abuse. She did not mention Depp by name but it is claimed that the article clearly refers to him. He is suing for $50 million in compensation for defamation and she is countersuing for $100 million. She has claimed that Depp wants to destroy her.
Amber Heard said under oath that she had made the payment to charity but under cross-examination admitted that she hadn’t and said: “Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to fulfil those obligations”. However, she had the money for months before Depp sued her so that argument does not really carry water.
Below are some pages on celebrities and cats.