A bizarre and disturbing trend has swept across TikTok over the last several days: Dozens of posts on the short-form video service - some amassing millions of views - have used video or audio from Amber Heard's wrenching testimony in the Johnny Depp trial, with the creators of the videos dramatically reenacting it, performing dances to it or otherwise mocking her.
The trend includes a video, which has more than 30 million views in five days, of Heard emotionally testifying on the stand overlaid with a clip of Kim Kardashian in a judge's robe from a Saturday Night Live sketch saying, "Ew, this is so cringe. Guilty."
Overall, videos with the hashtag "amberturd" have been viewed more than 1.2 billion times to date, according to TikTok's website. Those include this video, from TikTok user @sansanjovs, which has been viewed nearly 10 million times, featuring a mocking reenactment of Heard's testimony.
Another viral TikTok is this video, viewed more than 14 million times since it was posted on Sunday (May 8), that features a cat with a blond wig (supposed to represent Heard) and as Depp's Jack Sparrow in The Pirates Of The Caribbean. As previously reported reported by Rolling Stone, the 9-second video - captioned "Johnny looks so innocent!" - uses audio of Heard from the trial saying, "I was walking out of the bedroom. [Depp] slapped me across the face. And I said, 'Johnny, you hit me. You just hit me'."
According to TikTok, it has removed several such videos that use Heard's testimony that the company says violated its anti-bullying policies and says it will continue to enforce those rules. TikTok's Community Guidelines state in part that it prohibits "Content that disparages victims of violent tragedies".
In addition, per TikTok's policies, "We remove expressions of abuse, including threats or degrading statements intended to mock, humiliate, embarrass, intimidate or hurt an individual."
But in addition to the three videos cited above, numerous TikToks that excerpt audio and/or video from Heard's testimony and use it in a disparaging way still remained on the platform Monday afternoon.
In testimony last week, Heard told jurors about several instances when Depp hit her, screamed at her and shoved her to the ground. "This is horrible for me to sit here for weeks and relive everything," she said on the stand on May 4. "This is the most painful and difficult thing I have ever gone through."
Depp has sued Heard for US$50mil, alleging that she destroyed his career by alluding to her domestic abuse allegations in a 2018 op-ed for the Washington Post (although she did not name him in the piece). – Reuters