Americans tune out, watch Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard as US roils over inflation, abortion and war

As the country grapples with historic inflation, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and braces as a nation for potential pro-abortion violence following a Supreme Court ruling, many Americans seem to care more about the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial than the country’s demise.

Social media engagement over the trial is reportedly off the charts. It appears that people simply can’t get enough of celebrity dirty laundry and would much rather wallow in a legal spectacle than face problems threatening to implode the country.

The sordid defamation trial is generating more social media engagement than any other topic out there, according to NewsWhip. The data firm asserts that the trial has resulted in an average of 508 social media interactions for each published article pumped out on it during the past month.

That number is five times what an article on abortion would ostensibly draw and allegedly ten times that of a COVID piece, according to the New York Post.

(Video Credit: Law&Crime Network)

“Hands down it’s a record-setter for us,” Rachel Stockman, who is the president of Law&Crime network, told Axios on Wednesday.

Compared to the trial, other topics are being dwarfed on social media. Tesla CEO Elon Musk comes closest with 417 social media interactions. President Joe Biden got 170, abortion garners 141, the Ukrainian war clocks in at 91, inflation scores 70, and the pandemic totaled 44, according to the media outlet.

Over the last month, there have been four times as many Google searches for Heard as there were for abortion or the Supreme Court.

Millions of Americans are visiting TikTok to watch takes and highlights of the trial as well. Videos with the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp have been viewed a stunning 8.3 billion times via the site.

Huge crowds are also showing up for the trial, buying outrageously priced wristbands from scalpers to get in, according to TMZ.

“Consumption has changed for trials like this. We’re seeing 10 to 15 times the number of viewers for this trial than we normally do across platforms, but most specifically in YouTube,” Stockman noted.

“We’re [also] seeing bigger and bigger audiences on Twitch,” she commented.

The websites for People, Us, and the New York Post have all seen traffic increases year-over-year for the month of April by 9%, 16%, and 22%, respectively according to Axios.

(Video Credit: Law&Crime Network)

(Video Credit: Law&Crime Network)

The trial appears to be an escape valve from the ever-increasing bad news surrounding Americans. Many seek a distraction from the doom and gloom that is the current reality.

The court was back in session for the couple after a week-long pause. The Depp vs. Heard trial resumed on Wednesday with millions tuning in, glued to their screens as if the whole affair was some kind of thrilling movie, which one day, it may be.

Depp is seeking $50 million in damages from Heard and she has filed a $100 million countersuit. Heard is being sued for defamation in connection to a 2018 Washington Post op-ed where she said she was a victim of sexual violence. Heard did not specifically name Depp in the article.

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