Johnny Depp Social Media 'Playbook' Examined in New Doc About Heard Trial

A new documentary examining the role of social media in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial is set to air on NBC tonight.

A Marriage on Trial: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, and Truth in the Age of Social Media will air on July 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC News NOW and delves into the overwhelming response the blockbuster trial received on social media.

Through insights from experts—including Heard's attorney Elaine Bredehoft—the documentary examines how the trial evolved into the "TikTok trial" and what the verdict means for future domestic abuse cases.

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. "A Marriage on Trial: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, and Truth in the Age of Social Media" airs on July 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC News NOW. Getty Images

Depp recently emerged victorious from a highly publicized court battle with Heard over a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post, in which she said that she was a domestic abuse survivor.

The jury largely sided with Depp, awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages on June 1.

The documentary will explore how the unprecedented involvement of social media in this trial will now serve as a "playbook" for future high-profile legal battles.

"This trial really demonstrates the power of the internet and how campaigns for public opinion can shape real-world effects. So whether you're in politics, media, entertainment... this presents itself as a playbook," NBC News tech and culture reporter Kat Tenbarge told Newsweek.

Among the compelling stats explored in the documentary are ones surrounding the extent of the support on social media in favor of Depp over Heard.

Newsweek can reveal that the documentary finds that of more than 2,300 Twitter profiles that were analyzed for having talked about the trial, 93 percent were found in support of Depp.

As of June 3, 2022, the hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp had nearly 20 billion views on TikTok, while #justiceforamberheard had over 80 million.

Throughout the trial Heard was relentlessly mocked on social media by ardent Depp supporters, and even emotional testimony from Heard alleging she was hit by Depp was turned into a viral TikTok trend.

Heard spoke about the impact social media had on the trial during a recent interview on Dateline, telling Savannah Guthrie: "Even somebody who is sure I'm deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I'm lying, you still couldn't tell me—look me in the eye and tell me—that you think on social media there's been a fair representation.

"You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair."

The 30-minute documentary features interviews with insiders and experts on the trial, including Heard's attorney Elaine Bredehoft, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence CEO Ruth Glenn, American University Law professor and gendered violence expert Jamie Abrams, NBC News senior breaking news reporter Doha Madani, NBC News tech and culture reporter Kat Tenbarge, People magazine's Nigel Smith and more.

A Marriage on Trial: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, and Truth in the Age of Social Media airs on July 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC News NOW.