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Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel trial is nothing short of a media circus – CBC News



WARNING: This story contains details of intimate partner violence.

Johnny Depp testified in his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard last week. The trial — which is being live streamed on the Internet for all the world to see and consume — has prompted nothing short of a media circus.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million US, claiming that a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post clearly refers to their marriage due to her previous, public claims that he had abused her. In the piece, Heard calls herself a “public figure representing domestic violence.” Depp denies the allegations. Heard has filed a countersuit for $100 million US.

In addition to a live broadcast, celebrity witnesses from Elon Musk to James Franco to Paul Bettany are set to testify both for Depp and Heard, being held in Virginia’s Fairfax County Courthouse.  A social media campaign in support of Depp has erupted on Twitter and TikTok.

The case’s high-profile nature, paired with the sensational coverage of unpleasant details, is a remarkable instance of public engagement with the private lives of movie stars — more access than the paparazzi, and far less flattering than Instagram.

That’s what makes the frenzy around Depp and Heard an outlier of celebrity court trials, experts say.

Televised trial leads to ‘performances’

Depp demonstrates how he claims he shielded himself from an alleged attack by his ex-wife Amber Heard as he testifies during his defamation trial against Heard, at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on Wednesday. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Depp’s defamation case against Heard is being streamed by Court TV, a digital network dedicated to live coverage of legal trials in the U.S. Having a camera present in the courtroom can impact the way that a person behaves during their testimony, according to experts.

“Johnny Depp is giving, literally, a lesson in acting every time he gets up on the stand,” said Paula Todd, a journalism professor at York University and lawyer from Toronto.

The televised trial is a “massive technological amplification” of typical audience interest in the lives of famous people, Todd said, adding that a televised court trial is unusual. 

Watching the network’s coverage, it would be easy to mistake the proceedings for a wrestling match. Anchors assure the audience that during a “brief intermission” they’re “not gonna miss a thing.” After a particularly salacious detail, they ask, “Can it get any worse? Tune in later to find out.” Court TV did not respond to an interview request in time.

Though the trial is free and accessible for public consumption, the courts haven’t granted access for entertainment purposes, Todd said. 

“It’s being broadcast because we have the right to a public court system.”

Heard speaks with her legal team as Depp returns to the stand after a lunch recess. Heard has filed a countersuit against Depp for $100 million US. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo/The Associated Press)

The decision to allow cameras into the courtroom is an administrative one that rests with the sitting judge. However, either party can leverage the presence of cameras to their advantage, Todd said.

“I do think it’s helping [Depp],” Todd said. “I do think it’s engendering public sympathy for him, because people like him as a performer.”

While being cross-examined by Heard’s lawyer this week, Depp made several ill-advised jokes. 

When asked about drug use, he told the court that he offered singer Marilyn Manson a pill “so that he would stop talking so much.” In response to a video where Depp could be heard acting erratically, he said, “I did assault a couple of cabinets, but I did not assault Ms. Heard.”

Headlines overshadowing assault allegations

Heard looks on during the defamation trial in the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse. (Jim Watson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Both Heard and Depp have accused the other of physical and psychological abuse. In court filings, Heard said that Depp assaulted her throughout their relationship, and Depp maintains that she was the aggressor. 

In 2020, Depp lost a libel suit in which British tabloid The Sun called him a “wife-beater.” Heard was the primary witness in that trial.

“I think it’s very possible that a case like this could have a discouraging effect on anybody who wants to come forward, any abuse survivor,” said Andrea Gunraj, the vice president of public engagement at the Canadian Women’s Foundation. 

“It’s very important to take a step back and see that a lot of this violence happens in relationships where there’s a power imbalance.”

WATCH | Johnny Depp loses his libel case against British tabloid:

Johnny Depp loses U.K. libel suit

1 year ago

Duration 1:52

Johnny Depp has lost his court case against a British tabloid that labelled the actor a “wife beater.” The judge said he believed the claims were “substantially true.” 1:52

According to a Statistics Canada report published in 2019, 4.2 per cent of women and 2.7 per cent of men were survivors of domestic violence. Overall, 80 per cent of survivors said that they did not report their abuse to police.

“These dynamics are often written as passion, written as strong feelings, but they are actually dynamics that are unacceptable,” Gunraj said. In the past, Heard and Depp had referred to their relationship as “passionate and volatile, but always bound by love.”

The Canadian court system — which is friendlier to plaintiffs than the U.S. system, because it puts the onus of disproving defamation on the defendant — should not be judged based on what we’ve seen in the case of Depp and Heard, said Todd.

“It’s important to try to remember that you’re not a bad person when you have been abused,” she added. 

“It has everything to do with the people who are trying to maintain their own power, and you just happen to be a part of it.”

Social media amplifying the trial

Spectators showing support for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard outside of the courthouse on April 11, 2022. Observers say the livestreamed trial has become a frenzy because fans are getting such unvarnished access to the lives of celebrities. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

For Samita Nandy, a Toronto-based celebrity scholar, the case stands out because of the role that social media has played in amplifying it.

“In terms of the social media presence, what really stands out for me is the blurring of lines between the private and public spheres,” Nandy said.

A Twitter hashtag in support of Depp was trending last week and a TikTok hashtag in support of Depp has racked up 3 billion views to date. 

Nandy, who is the director of the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies in Mississauga, Ont., said it reminds her of Britney Spears’s legal efforts to end her conservatorship because of how the pop star used Instagram to connect with fans. 

“I think, for this celebrity couple, the engagement with fans was very important.”

Depp waves inside a courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court, the day that the jury heard opening statements. (Brendan Smialowski/The Associated Press)

About 25 years ago, media began using both regular people for entertainment and increasing its coverage of backstage moments in celebrity life, according to Evie Psarras, a feminist media scholar based in Chicago.

“For decades now, and with the advent of social media, we’ve been conditioned to overshare our own private moments and demand that celebrities do the same,” Psarras wrote by email. She noted that reality TV series have some roots in court television.

For fans who are fascinated by the authenticity of a celebrity persona, the Depp and Heard case is an exceptional instance of highly protected private lives coming to the fore.

“Privacy is considered a privilege today, not a right. This live streaming of the court case is a perfect picture of the state of our relationship to celebrity,” Psarras added.

 “I don’t think people are looking for ethics here. They’re not looking for morality … essentially, they’re consuming the celebrity and it has to do with instant gratification.”

Support is available for anyone who has been abused or assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Signal For Help is a silent, one-handed gesture to use in a video call to indicate that you are at risk of violence at home. ​​If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.

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Media Release – May 20, 2022 – Guelph Police – Guelph Police Service



Attempt break and enter

The Guelph Police Service is investigating after an attempted break and enter at a west-end business.

Early Thursday morning, two males arrived by vehicle at a business on Speedvale Avenue West. One of the suspects was caught on video using an angle grinder in an attempt to gain access to a storage unit, but the males fled when an alarm sounded.

A query of the licence plates, which were on an older two-tone Ford Escape, revealed they are registered to another vehicle.

The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Constable Graeme Adams at 519-824-1212, ext. 7419, email him at, leave an anonymous message for Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous tip online at

Prohibited driver arrested

A Cambridge male banned from driving was arrested after he was caught behind the wheel in Guelph Thursday.

A Guelph Police Service officer was on patrol on Speedvale Avenue West just after 3 p.m. when he queried a licence plate and learned it was registered to a prohibited driver. A traffic stop was conducted and the owner of the vehicle confirmed to be the driver.

Investigation revealed the male is a prohibited driver as a result of a December, 2021, conviction for refusing to provide a breath sample. A 49-year-old Cambridge male is charged with driving while prohibited and driving while suspended. He will appear in a Guelph court July 5, 2022.

Male threatens staff, gets arrested

A Guelph male faces charges after threatening to “mace” employees of a local business Thursday afternoon.

Approximately 4:20 p.m. the male entered a business on Woodlawn Road West near Woolwich Street. Staff recognized him from a shoplifting incident earlier in the week and began to follow him. The male became agitated and threatened to “mace” the employees before reaching into a fanny pack he was wearing and removing something.

Staff retreated and called police, who located the male in the area of the business. He was not found to be carrying any weapons.

A 40-year-old Guelph male is charged with two counts of uttering threats and breaching probation. He was held for a bail hearing Friday.

Stunt driving charge laid

A Guelph male was taken off the road after he was caught Thursday driving more than twice the speed limit.

A Guelph Police Service Traffic Unit officer was patrolling just before 1 p.m. in the area of Victoria Road South and College Avenue West when he observed a vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was clocked at 110 km/h in a posted 50 km/h zone.

A 21-year-old Guelph male is charged with stunt driving and speeding. His driver’s licence was immediately suspended for 30 days and his vehicle impounded for 15 days.

Total calls for service in the last 24 hours – 246

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Brock Media Clips for Friday, May 20 – The Brock News – Brock University



Here’s a look at some of the media attention Brock University received recently.

Royal Canadian Tour continues, Indigenous groups await formal monarchy apology: Assistant Professor of Education Stanley ‘Bobby’ Henry spoke to CHCH about statements from Prince Charles that discussed residential schools in Canada and the need for reconciliation.

Brock prepares future nurses for challenges in the field: Department of Nursing Chair Karyn Taplay and Nursing student Sierra Smith spoke to Newstalk 610 CKTB about the growth of Brock’s Nursing program, as well as what it’s like to pursue a career in nursing. Taplay also discussed the Nursing program’s expanding enrolment in a St. Catharines Standard article.

Who are union members supporting in this election?: Professor of Labour Studies Larry Savage spoke to CBC’s Ontario Today program about the decision of a construction union to endorse the Progressive Conservatives in Ontario’s upcoming provincial election.

As several Canadian cities loosen public drinking laws, Toronto rejects proposal again: Professor of Health Sciences Dan Malleck spoke to The Globe and Mail about current conversations around alcohol consumption and their relationship to temperance movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. Malleck also spoke to Nunatsiaq News about Nunavut’s system of alcohol regulation.

“We want to make curling cool” — Rolling the dice on the Roaring Game: Assistant Professor of Sport Management Michael Naraine spoke to Yahoo!Sports about the potential for legal sports gambling to bring a new audience to the sport of curling.

If you know of an appearance or story about a Brock faculty member, student, athlete or alumni, please drop us a line with a link to the story at

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How marketers can work with diverse media suppliers – Smartbrief



Jo Hamilton: How marketers can work with diverse media suppliers

(Image credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection)

Marketers need to be able to reach diverse, multicultural audiences with authentic, relevant messaging — while demonstrating to customers they’re walking the walk by championing diversity within their own organizations. 

One way brands can achieve both is by working with diverse media suppliers. 

A new set of guidelines on working with diverse media suppliers was published this week by the Association of National Advertisers, its Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing, and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. 

America’s multicultural population “will be the majority in the not-too-distant future,” the report states, citing 2020 US Census Bureau data. The multicultural population rose to just over 42% in 2020, up from 36% in 2010.

The guide also lists more than a handful of business benefits from working with a diverse supplier base.

There’s a wealth of information in the guidelines, but we’ve highlighted some key information and advice:

How to find diverse media suppliers

The report offers several resources to help marketers get in touch with diverse media suppliers – those that are owned by ethnic minorities, women or the LGBTQ community. They are:

Diverse media requires different metrics

The guidelines recommend that marketers consider using alternative metrics when measuring diverse media performance.

This is because highly targeted audiences come with less scale and higher CPMs. Alternatives or additional metrics could include brand awareness, intent, favorable opinion, shares, video completion rates and click-thru rates. 

The importance of diverse creators

The guidelines also offer resources to help marketers find diverse content creators, such as influencers, agencies, production companies and directors. 

Involving diverse teams in the creation of content from the start can prevent brand missteps — such as this recent Samsung campaign, which missed the mark with women.  

Cindy Gallop, consultant and founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn, told SmartBrief in response to that Samsung campaign:

“Every brand and client — like Samsung — should mandate that their ads are overseen by women, created by women, approved by women, cast by women, directed by women, photographed by women, and announce that they will not give their business to any agency where the leadership team, the creatives and the creative decision-makers are all male.” 

That example, which arose from a lack of female involvement in the creative, could apply to any campaign that hasn’t involved members of the audience it targets. 

The right creative messaging

The guidelines therefore recommend that creative teams include diverse voices to ensure creative messaging is relatable.

“A lot of the time what we think works, and what works for a general market audience might not necessarily work for a multicultural audience,” said Paula Castro, multicultural creative business partner at Google, during an IAB NewFronts panel

The importance of cultural nuance and heritage when engaging with Black audiences was recently explored by Numerator’s Amanda Schoenbauer, with a study by her company highlighting the levels of diverse thought and behavior within that community. 

“A full picture view of this — or any — group of shoppers requires additional consumer context and segmentations,” Schoenbauer wrote. 

Marketers can look to diverse suppliers to help deliver that context and culturally appropriate messaging. As one diverse supplier says in the report from the 4A’s, ANA and AIMM: 

“There is much more value we can provide to connect through culture, heritage, emotion, nostalgia, etc.”

For more insights like this, subscribe to our free newsletter.

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