Ron Schnell
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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 found more than four million hashtags that he perceived as negative against Heard between 2020 and 2021. 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 allegedly 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.

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

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.

This is a developing story.

(Screenshot from Law&Crime Network)

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