Why Johnny Depp lawsuit attracts so many viewers: ‘Better than Netflix’

The television is turned on at 3 pm, and she does not turn it off again until 9 pm. This is how things have been going at Barbara in Alkmaar for two weeks now. She follows the lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard closely, although it is in the background.

A short tour on social media shows that she is far from the only one: the American lawsuit is getting more and more Dutch viewers.

Exciting from the start

“I was sucked in almost immediately”, Duiverman admits. She was born in the 1980s, grew up with Depp on television and from the very beginning had an interest in the case in which the actor is suing his ex for defamation (see box).

“Depp and Heard, but also the witnesses who speak; they are all American caricatures,” explains Duiverman.

“Everything is so American. A lawsuit is very different there than in the Netherlands, with that jury, for example. Normally you see such American cases in films, but it turns out to be exactly the same in real life. As a sober Dutch girl, I find that very interesting.”

‘Have to form an opinion’

Media expert Simone Driessen at Erasmus University in Rotterdam understands that it is exciting for Dutch people to watch the lawsuit. “You want to be here live, you want to be able to talk about it,” Driessen told RTL Nieuws. According to her, the fact that the images are easy to share via YouTube also plays a role.

According to Duiverman, the attraction is also that she can follow everything live via YouTube. “So it’s like I’m sitting in the hall.” She keeps in touch with other followers via Twitter and together they keep a close eye on tricks that the two actors use during the case.

“For example, when Johnny Depp said he was injured by Heard with a glass bottle, he was rubbing his hand all the time. You’re going to pay attention to those kinds of things.”

‘Form an opinion’

Media expert Driessen sees that people get the feeling that they have to form an opinion about this matter. “That is bizarre, because actually it is up to the judge. We are not trained to play as judges, but are now all working towards a denouement.”

Depp v Heard: wry fairy tale

Movie stars Johnny Depp (58) and Amber Heard (36) got a relationship in 2012. It was quite tumultuous. He is said to have been violent under the influence of drink and drugs. According to Depp, she was just an aggressive bully who mistreated him. She is said to have smashed a bottle on his hand, cutting off the tip of his finger.

In 2018, Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post, in which she claimed to have been a victim of domestic violence – without mentioning Depp by name. Depp then went to court: he would no longer get a job because his reputation is shattered. He lost his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts film series. His demand: $50 million. She in turn demands double from Depp for libel.

Correspondent Erik Mouthaan saw how the media in the United States initially paid little attention to the case. That all changed when it went all out on social media. “Apparently this has stirred something up in the American people,” says Mouthaan.

“Of course, this nasty lawsuit in which two people accuse each other of everything is about much more than the lawsuit itself. It shows what it means to be famous today and gives a glimpse into the marriage between Depp and Heard.”

Mouthaan explains that the jury will make a verdict sometime in the coming days. Depp or Heard is then found in the right. A judge then determines whether compensation must be paid and, if so, how high that amount is.

‘Better than Who is the Mole’

According to Duiverman, who has seen everything from A to Z, the jury is still faced with a difficult decision. At the beginning, the Dutchman was objective and impartial. She now feels more related to Camp Johnny. “But it’s hard to judge.”

De Alkmaar compares the case with her favorite TV program Wie is de Mol?, but then squared. “You wonder who did it and which testimonies are true. While watching, I increasingly sit in the chair of the jury.”

Where friends first looked at her in surprise when Duiverman talked about the Depp and Heard, she now hears many enthusiastic reactions. “More and more people are feeling the attraction to this business. Please do more of these things for me in the near future.”

Putting domestic violence on the map

Last week we also wrote about the public mud fight between Depp and Heard. Could all this attention to the accusations of abuse make it easier for victims of domestic violence to raise the alarm? Or does the media circus have a blocking effect? You can read it in this article.

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