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Amber Heard’s Expert Traces Barrage of Mean Tweets to Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Labeling Abuse Claims ‘Fake’ and a ‘Hoax’

Ron Schnell

Ron Schnell analyzes how Johnny Depp came to rule the hashtag war against Amber Heard.

Amber Heard’s expert witness quantified how Johnny Depp came to dominate the hashtag war on Thursday, correlating a barrage of rude tweets with comments made by one of Depp’s lawyers.

The director of the Berkeley Research Group, Ron Schnell was called by Heard’s legal team to tie damage to the actress’s reputation to comments made by one of Depp’s lawyers that she perpetrated a “hoax” and a “fraud.” Heard sued Depp over such comments by his lawyer Adam Waldman, who was compelled to testify by subpoena during a deposition played in court earlier on Thursday.

Schnell identified more than a million hashtags that he perceived as negative against Heard between 2020 and 2021, and he said that he analyzed two sets of one thousand of these at random.

By far, the most popular hashtag listed on the charts was #JusticeforJohnnyDepp, but Schnell also looked into more denigrating hashtags such as #WeJustDontLikeYouAmber, #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser, and #AmberTurd, a reference to Depp’s allegation that Heard soiled their bed as a practical joke. (Heard denied the claim, blaming the defecation on their Yorkshire terrier, which she said had bowel control issues after eating Depp’s cannabis.)

Schnell found that the hashtags tended to spike at certain moments, which he correlated to comments and actions by Waldman.

One enormous spike happened in February 2020, around the time that Waldman leaked an audio tape to the Daily Mail showing Heard apparently taunting Depp about whether the courts and public would believe a man could be a victim of domestic violence, according to the witness. Waldman acknowledged disclosing the tape to the newspaper in a deposition played earlier in the day.

Schnell traced a similar spike after Waldman called Heard’s claims a “hoax ” in both the Mail and Vanity Fair in April 2020.

“Amber Heard and her friends in the media use fake sexual violence allegations as both a sword and shield, depending on their needs,” Waldman told the Mail. “They have selected some of her sexual violence hoax ‘facts’ as the sword, inflicting them on the public and Mr. Depp.”

During Waldman’s testimony, Heard’s lawyers had him read his other remarks to the Mail later that month.

“Quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax. They set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops but the first attempt didn’t do the trick,” Waldman was quoted as saying. “The officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed, and left after seeing no damage to face or property. So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911.”

The data shows that the text accompanying the most popular pro-Depp hashtags echoed that language, with variations of “hoax,” “fake” or “fraud.” Schnell found that the hashtag #JusticeforJohnnyDepp invoked Waldman’s name—or his affectionate nickname, “Wald-Mignon”—more than 26 percent of the time. Heard herself adopted the “Wald-mignons” terminology for Depp’s devoted supporters on Feb. 4, 2021.


Heard’s countersuit, spanning 93 pages, extensively quotes Waldman’s comments to news outlets to make its case.

She quotes him accusing her of “defamation, perjury and filing and receiving a fraudulent temporary restraining order demand with the court” on April 12, 2019.

Months later in June 2019, Waldman said: “Ms. Heard continues to defraud her abused hoax victim Mr. Depp, the #metoo
movement she masquerades as the leader of, and other real abuse victims worldwide.” That July, Waldman described Heard as wearing “painted on ‘bruises'” when she first went to court for her restraining order and claimed that her “‘battered face’ was a hoax.”

Exhibits to Heard countersuit include a variety of news articles quoting Waldman, in GQ, the New York Post, Blast, People, and the Mail.

(Screenshot from Law&Crime Network)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."