Using the internet to influence the public is nothing new and will only become more frequent as time passes. However, the degree to which social media was weaponized against Amber has yet to be duplicated or matched. In a documentary about the UK trial, Bot Sentinel founder Chris Bouzy said this was the most sophisticated smear campaign he's ever seen. Amber's attorney during the UK trial said in her book "It was sophisticated: it targeted everyone who had been pictured with Amber, tweeted about Amber or tweeted about being at the event-not just with tweets, but with emails addressed to their workplace. Colleague after colleague forwarded me the identical tweets and emails they had received. UN Women, who Amber had worked with, was also targeted, along with the brands Amber worked with. The message was clear: don't believe Amber, don't associate with her, don't defend her- and don't hire her."
Ronald Schnell was Amber's witness who testified about his research into the social media manipulation. Schnell is a child prodigy who began programming at the age of 9 and was offered the opportunity to become a freshman at NYU at age 14. He investigated the social media manipulation on Twitter using their API. He testified there were massive, inorganic spikes in negative tweets using 4 distinct hashtags. He stated between the time period of April 2020 and January of 2022 there were 3.8 million negative tweets directed at her. These tweets the majority of the time contained statements that originated from Adam Waldman.
These tweets continue now, almost a year after the Virginia verdict. Bot Sentinel did an additional non-paid investigation into the activity during and after the Virginia trial and found the same abusive activity that he found during the UK trial. That full report can be found at the bottom of this page.
Entertainment consultant Kathryn Arnold testified that the social media campaign cost Amber an estimated 50 million dollars between lost movie roles and endorsement deals. She testified that it's unheard of for an actor to come off a wildly successful movie like Aquaman and to have your career prospects trend downward instead of upwards or at minimum stay the same. The initial script for Aquaman 2 had her in a much more prominent role, not just as a romantic lead but in large action sequences. As the hate campaign continued a revised script was written and her role was drastically reduced. She trained for hours a day for 5 months for a large action sequence that she discovered was then cut entirely when she arrived to start shooting the movie. She's been largely excluded from Aquaman 2 promotions to date and she was excluded from a huge online DC Comics event called DC Fandome. She was not only not invited but specifically told she couldn't come while the majority of other main characters were included.
Perhaps the scariest aspect of the online hate campaign has been the threats to Amber and her daughter's safety. She, her daughter, and anyone else associated with her have received a constant barrage of death threats. She has since deleted her Twitter account, but on Twitter and Instagram, she had to turn off comments due to the hatred and threats thrown at her. You can go back hundreds of weeks on her Instagram, before she turned off comments, and see just a small sample of what she endured. Amber supporters on Twitter receive daily death and rape threats for supporting her. People have even tweeted that they want to microwave her baby. Since the trial ended, she moved from the US with her daughter to try and find some semblance of safety and privacy for the two of them.
It's unconscionable that a woman's life has been threatened and her life as she's known it has been destroyed over an op-ed that never even mentioned Johnny Depp. Even if she had been guilty of domestic violence, there's not one person in the history of social media who has received this amount of hate and vitriol: not Epstein, not Cosby, not Weinstein. All this came before the trials in the UK and Virginia even occurred, and any accusations had been decided. Depp's social media manipulation weaponized hate and misogyny and unleashed the worst that the internet and the world have to offer on one woman who had already survived years of abuse and domestic violence and was trying to heal and make a difference in the world. She was re-victimized, this time on a global stage, just like Depp promised her he would.
Pro-Depp account co-opting a pro-Amber hashtag to spread hate and death threats.