TikTok’s new, terrible trend | THE CABLE

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The cat is wearing a blonde wig. From the lower corner of the frame comes a small plastic hand attached to an index finger, stroking the orange cat’s whiskers. The video then cuts to the same cat wearing a black wig and bandana; the accompanying voiceover says, “I walked out of the bedroom. He hit me in the face and I said, ‘Johnny, you hit me. You just hit me.'” I had been avoiding this video for several days, ever since I read about it. the Rolling stones. It reportedly got millions of views on TikTok, but then disappeared. Nevertheless, it was there, in my carousel of suggested rolls on Instagram, where the algorithm has found that I love cat videos – but not that I do not like scorn on social media about accusations of abuse at home.

Ever since the defamation case between Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard began in April, a certain kind of stink culture has formed around it. Depp is suing Heard for $ 50 million, claiming an op-ed she wrote for Washington Post about being a “public figure representing domestic abuse” has been detrimental to his reputation and career. (The play does not mention the actor by name.) Depp has denied the allegations, and the jury in their trial is also considering a hearing from Heard. As the case draws to a close, scenes from the courtroom have gone viral on social media, especially on TikTok, where users re-enact or otherwise ridicule the testimony given. The sound of that cat clip is from Heard’s testimony. Another video showing Heard at the booth is overlaid with a video of Kim Kardashian on Saturday Night Live says “so creepy.” It currently has more than 5 million likes.

Fandom has often crossed celebrity processes and goes back to the crowd of supporters who showed up in Santa Barbara, California, to support Michael Jackson in 2005. In some cases, the attention has brought public attention back to overlooked stories, such as Britney Spears ‘Conservatory, which took a turn thanks to the #FreeBritney movement. But there is something particularly disturbing about the brand of attention emerging from the Depp / Heard process. Supporting a celebrity involved in a lawsuit is one thing, and it’s another thing to get memes mocking someone who claims they’ve been hit by their partner.

Internet commentary thrives on unpleasant topics, and TikTok is no exception. (And for what it’s worth, TikTok has reportedly removed some of the videos using audio from Heard’s testimony.) People mock politics and politicians on all sides of issues. But using this particular case as a feed for re-enactment and reaction videos to get clicks seems particularly creepy, perhaps because it seems so targeted at one person, one situation rather than a major topic, and dozens of voices weighing in. ridicule seems directed at Heard (a nervous trend within the trend), both she and Depp are claiming damage to themselves and their lives in this case, so it would be too much to ask as The Guardian did this week to “treat a grim problem gloomily”?

Much of the memeification surrounding the trial stems from the fact that Depp’s supporters wanted the actor to get a fair shake, and therefore tried to discredit Heard. But as Cut wrote, “no matter how damning the evidence may look in court, social media tells a different story,” with Instagram memes and YouTube comments aimed at portraying Depp as a victim and Heard as an actor who performs a show. The case will ultimately be decided by a jury, but in the meantime, #justiceforjohnnydepp hashtag on TikTok more than 10 billion views; the hashtag #justiceforamberheard has more modest 39 million. After several years with #MeToo, “here’s a woman who tells in painful details how an extremely famous man allegedly abused her,” The Cuts Claire Lampen pointed out. “Why, in 2022, do so many people seem to hate her for it?”

Part of the answer may lie in the fact that even though the Internet does not forget, it has a rosy memory. When you are famous, the people who love you can choose to remember your part in The Pirates of the Caribbean and ignores everything else. It can also remember that you were once married to someone they admire and forget that you are a person. There seems to be deep-rooted misogyny – and deep-rooted distrust of women who generally make allegations of abuse – in the social media treatment of Heard. But beyond that, there is another message: People who step forward will not be believed and will also potentially be mocked. Life online can make celebrities appear only in the forms we want to see them. It makes them unreal. It can turn Depp into a jerk and Heard’s tearful testimony into nothing but a TikTok sound. It’s a trend no one needs.