May 11th, 2022, 10:20 PM

The Dangers of Fame: Amber Heard and Johnny Depp

By Christina Alvarez-Correa
Image Credit: Unsplash/ David Veksler
Image Credit: Unsplash/ David Veksler
The Heard Vs. Depp case has unveiled the dangers of celebrity exploitation

High profile trials have always captured the public’s attention. Rarely is the media invited into the courtroom, but in the few instances that they are, the media circus only multiplies. The media forms its narratives and blasts it through various mediums of journalism and gives the reins to its eager listeners to become the jury. From OJ Simpson, to Casey Anthony, to now, Amber Heard Vs. Johnny Depp.

The defamation trial began in Virginia two weeks ago and the internet has since become saturated with memes, conspiracy theories and opinions on the divorced couple. The case’s major themes are the luxurious lifestyle of the pair, domestic abuse, addiction, mental health and sexual assault. Attaching these themes to public speculation would expectedly garner an overall melancholy and respectful atmosphere around the trial, yet this has not been the internet’s take.

On the contrary, the internet has managed to trivialize the whole ordeal and overlook the darkness. There are many outlets and commentators that have done credible and serious reporting, but much of the media being produced is humorous. In the meantime, the war in Ukraine, COVID-19 news and other disheartening current events have been overshadowed by the trial. 


It is always baffling to watch the speed at which the public's attention shifts to new, more gripping topics, abandoning the old talking points. The turnover of current events is rapid, a truth that journalists know all too well. The lifespan of a story and the relationship it forms with the public is dependent on relatability, content, ambiguity and of course, how scandalous the story becomes. 

Two of the biggest names in Hollywood are battling each other in court and in the process, airing out the darkest secrets, struggles and details of their failed marriage. It is no surprise that this is captivating a large scale audience, yet it is revealing of pop culture’s influence over people.

It is a rare instance that the public gets to see into the private lives of celebrities, the mystery of their lives being part of their appeal. It is an even rarer instance that the world gets to hear the striking specifics through long and emotional testimonies. High profile celebrities are constantly exploited and dehumanized due to their unrelatability. A major constituent in the idea of “celebrity” is how otherworldly they appear. Seeing an actor on the big screen, falling in love with the film and their role often leads to fandoms, and when two celebrities turn into a couple, a frenzy of curiosity ensues among the public. 


The buzz around celebrities is not rooted in genuine love or care for their well-being, but rather in superficial admiration and ego-related feelings such as comparison. With this framework for fandom in mind, now that the public has received significant insight into the Depp-Heard relationship, the pair’s domestic and individual struggles have become the brunt of the internet’s jokes. The public has attached these two actors to fictional performance and theater, and because of the gap between “the common” and “the celebrity”, they applied the same notion to the courtroom.   

There is representation of sympathy among the many sides of the internet, but with such serious themes of violence and addiction, there would expectedly be no humor within this case. This proves that with the label of “public figure”, comes the public’s leniency to ridicule, exploit and trivialize the entirety of this ongoing trial, regardless of how horrific the subject matter. 

This case should be treated with the same weight as other trials that have similar themes. The fact that both the plaintiff and defendant are celebrities should not be used to dilute the gravity of the trial’s contents. As a collective, the public should use this as an opportunity to humanize both parties, regardless of truth. This case has exposed severe abuse and harrowing instability, and should never be used for humor.