Saturday Night Live slated for Johnny Depp v Amber Heard lawsuit parody (Saturday Night Live/SNL)
Saturday Night Live (SNL) has come under fire for a parody sketch of the ongoing defamation lawsuit between Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp, 58, is suing ex-wife Amber Heard, 36, in a $50m (£38m) defamation suit over her claims that he abused her. Heard has filed a $100m (£79m) countersuit seeking immunity from Depp’s allegations, and insisting that the legal action is a continuation of his “abuse and harassment” against her.
SNL was criticised after airing a comedy skit on Saturday (14 May) including Kate McKinnon and Heidi Gardner which made fun of the “cuckoo” trial, spoofing Depp’s prior allegation that Heard had defecated in his bed out of anger.
The SNL skit also made joking reference to a fight between Heard and Depp in 2015, that ended in Depp’s finger being sliced off.
McKinnon began the show saying: “I know it’s not the most pertinent story at the moment… but with all the problems in the world, isn’t it nice to have a news story we can all collectively say: ‘Glad it ain’t me?’”
Viewers of the show, however, criticised the skit for making light out of a trial that has involved sexual assault, violence, and domestic abuse.
Journalist Ella Dawson said on Twitter: “I realize we have much bigger fish to fry today, but SNL‘s cold open made fun of the Depp/Heard defamation trial and it repeated false claims that Heard cut off Depp’s finger and defecated in his bed. The premise of the sketch was that the trial is ‘fun’ and for public amusement.
“Domestic violence is not a joke. Rape is not a joke. Abusers using the legal system to continue to terrorize their victims is not a joke.
“In 20 years people are going to look back at this trial and all of the media coverage and be disgusted. Some of us are already disgusted.”
it is absolutely wild to me how many are making jokes about the heard vs depp trial. the opening sketch on snl last night made fun of it. i cannot imagine ever thinking that making jokes about a case with serious abuse allegations (on both sides) is appropriate
— kat (@wildkatappeared) May 15, 2022
Another Twitter user said the skit was inappropriate regardless of “who you believe or don’t believe”.
“It is absolutely wild to me how many are making jokes about the Heard vs Depp trial. The opening sketch on SNL last night made fun of it. I cannot imagine ever thinking that making jokes about a case with serious abuse allegations (on both sides) is appropriate,” they said.
The fact that SNL “spoofed” the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial WHILE it is still ongoing is so grossly inappropriate.
— Colleen (@jawsdroptv) May 16, 2022
Another social media user said: “The fact that SNL ‘spoofed’ the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial WHILE it is still ongoing is so grossly inappropriate.”
The former couple’s defamation trial has seen Heard take the stand to testify, where she alleged that Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle, an accusation which Depp denies.
She told the court that the alleged assault occurred in 2015 after Depp accused her of cheating on him.
“At some point he’s on top of me, screaming I f**king hate you, you ruined my f**king life,” Heard testified
“My back was on the countertop. I thought he was punching me. I felt this pressure on my pubic bone and I could feel his arms moving. It looked like he was punching me. I could just feel this pressure.
“I remember looking around the room, looking at all the broken bottles, and broken glass and I remember not wanting to move because I didn’t know if it was broken, I didn’t know if the bottle that he had inside me was broken.”
Depp has denies sexually assaulting and abusing Heard.
The trial continues.