“In a world amber heardbecome Camille Vazquez. “
It’s just one of a slew of social media posts this week raving about the lawyer who enjoyed a star turn while grilling Amber Heard in Virginia civil defamation trial pitted the actress against her ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Spent a few days at the booth leveling Disturbing allegations of sexual and physical violence against Depp, heard back on Monday and Tuesday by Vasquez. The lawyer is keeping up with the long tradition of defense attorneys throwing kitchen sinks at women who have accused men of male abuse.
Among other things, Vasquez accused Heard of fabricating allegations of sexual assault, editing a May 2016 photo of himself with a red mark on his face, being “jealous” of Depp, and repeatedly abusing his ex-husband. Several tense moments between Vasquez and Heard highlighted the cross-examination: angry sarcasm from the two women, objections from the actress’ legal team, and at least two lengthy sidebars between lawyers and judges from both camps.
But even more striking than the courtroom drama: Depp’s fans built a cult of personality around Vasquez within hours.
“Does the court have a live coroner? Because when our Queen Camille Vasquez is done with Amber Heard and her career, they’re going to need one [sic] Praise will be queen,” one trial viewer tweeted.
Another Depp fanatic took the time to photograph Vasquez’s face, who appears to be a medieval female warrior with a mallet and scales of justice behind her. Next to the photo was written a sentence: “Emperor Camille.”
Depp’s fans are a force to be reckoned with, which has been a hallmark of the trial, with his supporters praising the actor and mocking the every move of Heard and her legal team. But women defending prominent men accused of sexual misconduct and abuse have often been slammed on the internet.
Those people are not Johnny Depp.
“Johnny Depp is winning on social media — so his lawyers are doing the same,” said Juda, a crisis communications expert and spokesman for Harvey Weinstein during a sex crimes trial in New York Juda Engelmayer told The Daily Beast. “Historically, women defending men accused of sexual crimes have been subject to online hate. But Camille Vasquez seems to benefit greatly from Johnny’s praise.”
Vasquez did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Hurd declined to comment.
In the case of Depp Staines, the actor has won a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife in which he accused Heard of ‘ruining’ his career 2018 Washington post columnIn the article, which is not mentioned by name, it was released two years after she sought a restraining order from Depp, whom Hurd described as a domestic violence survivor. Hurd countersued Depp for $100 million, alleging defamation after at least one of his former lawyers suggested her description of the pattern of abuse was a “hoax.”
Depp has not been charged with any sexual offences and is in fact a true survivor of Heard’s domestic violence.
News of the trial garnered 11.9 billion views (and counting) on TikTok with the hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp, and Depp’s fans didn’t stop tearing up Hurd when she initially testified on the witness stand. That dynamic spilled over to the courtroom on Tuesday.
“There’s an ongoing smear campaign, an orchestrated smear campaign,” Hurd told Vasquez.
“A negative propaganda campaign going on? You don’t have proof of that,” Vasquez shot back, and Hurd responded, “Just look up at me and you’ll understand.”
The memetics — Depp the hero, Heard the sharp liar — have extended to Vasquez, whose name has become a hashtag. TikTok has 221.2 million views. There, the video praised her for “barbecuing” during two days of cross-examination Clips from live broadcast trials.
“Camille Vasquez is an angel sent from heaven to fight evil. Great today, can’t wait until tomorrow,” one Instagram commenter wrote on Monday.
Before her cross-examination of Heard, Depp’s fans had taken a keen interest in the Los Angeles-based lawyer. But after Hurd stepped down on Tuesday afternoon, Vasquez was seen laughing and hugging Depp and a fellow lawyer in what could be best described as elation.
Depp fans went into overdrive.
“That hug! You all know that Camille Vasquez really cares about Johnny,” one Twitter user said after the incident.
Men accused of sexual assault or abuse have long tended to have a female lawyer on their legal team to interact with the alleged victim. But Engelmayer said he was struck by the relative lack of traditional calls to believe in women, which has become standard practice in the #MeToo movement.
“At the end of the day, it’s about affinity,” he said. “People always want to love Johnny Depp. He’s been around for 35 years. If he supports someone, these people want to support him.”
Criminal defense attorney and former California judge Halim Dhanidina warned that the online fascination with Vasquez speaks to the dramatic nature of the trial, not necessarily the intentions of those deciding the case.
“It’s hard to know whether the public’s reaction online is the same as that of individual jurors,” Danedina told The Daily Beast.
At least one defense attorney couldn’t help but comment on the contrast to her own experience.
Donna Rotunno, who represented Weinstein at a sex crimes trial in Manhattan in 2020, has come under scrutiny for her decision to represent the disgraced film mogul.
She acknowledged the key difference: Depp is not facing criminal charges, let alone the serial predation model Weinstein is trying to disprove. Still, the Chicago-based lawyer called Vasquez admired for her litigation skills and condemned for being “too harsh” in “complete and utter hypocrisy.”
“People are very willing to follow suit because people don’t worry about getting cancelled for doing it,” she told The Daily Beast.
Even though the social media star of Depp’s team may not end up influencing the jury, it will likely have an impact on Heard and her own legal team, former Judge Denedina said.
“It’s an uphill battle for Amber Heard because the public doesn’t like you — even more like Johnny Depp’s lawyer,” he said. “That’s bound to mess up your head a bit.”