I’ll admit I haven’t watched a minute of the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial, but I realize I’m in the minority. A lot of people I know have been following it closely, and data gathered from social media have found that Americans are way more interested in the trial than other more serious news stories including inflation, the abortion debate and the war in Ukraine.
Besides the fact that a couple of celebrities are in a legal battle, one reason we’re obsessed with this case is that cameras are allowed in the courtroom, so we can see all the drama live as it happens. It's also garnered lots of photos and memes that have gone viral on TikTok and other social media sites. The trial has even been parodied on Saturday Night Live.
NewsWhip published data that found news articles reporting about the trial have gotten more reactions including likes, comments and shares than stories concerning inflation, the war, abortion and other more serious news items.
According to Axios, Google Trends data shows Amber Heard received double the Google searches than her ex Elon Musk, who's bid to buy Twitter was a huge trending story. They report that there have been almost four times more searches for Heard’s name when compared to searches for abortion or the Supreme Court.
Why has this story captured the attention of so many people? Maybe we just need a mindless outlet where we don’t have to think about all the horrible things happening in the world.