Since April 2020, there have been over 3 million negative tweets about actress Amber Heard, according to Twitter data.
A social media expert took the stand Wednesday to testify about the defamation Heard experienced after details of her and Depp's tumultuous relationship became public. Her countersuit claim is for $100 million. Depp's initial lawsuit against Heard seeks $50 million.
Ron Schnell, the Berkeley Research Group's research director, gathered the data through Twitter's application programming interface. From April 2020 to January 2021, there were over 1,243,000 tweets that Schnell deemed negative toward Heard. The next year, spanning from the first month of 2021 to the first month of 2022, saw 2.3 million similar tweets.
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Schnell found the tweets under four hashtags: #JusticeForJohnnyDepp, #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser, #WeJustDon'tLikeYouAmber, and #AmberTurd. When he randomized the tweets into two groups of 1,000 posts, he found that all the tweets had objectively negative things to say about the actress and determined the rest likely did as well.
Peaks in the hashtags' prevalence appeared to correlate with quotes in the press from Depp's former attorney Adam Waldman, according to Schnell. Tweets that included direct mentions of Waldman made up more than 25% of tweets over the years. Later, there was a spike in November 2020, when Depp lost his defamation trial against The Sun in the United Kingdom.
Twitter suspended Waldman from its platform for life, according to his deposition that was shown in court. The platform informed him he had committed "multiple violations of their policy." Twitter did not respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.
The first time #JusticeForJohnnyDepp was tweeted, however, as Depp's attorney pointed out, was 2013, long before Waldman was ever hired by Depp. Waldman became Depp's representative after his divorce from Heard in 2016, which was the same year #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser and #AmberTurd were first tweeted.
There was another jump in November 2018, just before Heard published the opinion editorial at the center of the case.
Depp's legal team attempted to discredit Schnell's expertise, noting that it was the first testimony he had given in regard to social media and also his first defamation case.
At the time of this report, the hashtag #IStandWithJohnnyDepp was trending with an excess of 11,800 tweets.
Waldman testified that he had interviewed several witnesses, including police officers, the housekeeper, Heard's makeup artist Melanie Inglessis, and more, who claimed that they had not seen any bruises on Heard's face leading up to her temporary restraining order filing, where she showed up to court with bruises on display.
Witness Michelle Mulrooney, an attorney, claimed in her deposition that she was approached by Heard about a prenuptial agreement and a subsequent confidentiality agreement, only to be fired by Depp on Heard's behalf by phone. Depp also called her a b****, according to Mulrooney. As he wasn't her client, he did not have the authority to fire her, but Mulrooney ultimately did not perform the tasks Heard asked for.
Disney production executive Tina Newman said that no one at Disney had read Heard's 2018 op-ed. She went on to say that there are executives above her who might have had more information than she did. Newman testified that she had never heard a Disney executive cite the opinion editorial as a reason that Depp would not be hired by the company in the future.
Newman also denied that Disney ever considered a contract with Depp that included $300 million and a pack of alpacas.
Actress Ellen Barkin, who has known Depp since 1990, was also deposed, and the recording was shown in court. When Heard's off-camera lawyer asked Barkin when their relationship became "romantic," the actress requested that the lawyer refer to the relationship as "sexual." Depp snickered at the moment in the courtroom, as did his attorney Camilla Vasquez.
Barkin went on to testify that she once saw Depp throw a wine bottle across a hotel room during a fight between him and another party Barkin couldn't remember. She also couldn't remember whether the bottle was empty or full, but remembered it didn't hit anyone.
Depp was "jealous" and "controlling" back in the '90s, according to Barkin.
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