In April 2022, the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began in Fairfax County, Virginia (via New York Post). Both actors and former spouses sued each other for making false claims about their romantic relationship, with both parties saying they caused material damage. But when the lurid details of her troubled marriage came to light during the case, it sparked many poignant discussions about the chronically underappreciated issue of domestic abuse in intimate partner relationships.
When “SNL” decided to parody the process in one of their cold candid sketches, viewers were appalled at the lack of tact the writers displayed (via Newsweek). The sketch parodied the court case with a particular focus on an incident in which Depp claims Heard intentionally defecated in his bed. The scatological humor featured in the “SNL” sketch relied on exceptionally childish vocabulary to get a laugh, but social media viewers didn’t get any of it.
Verified Twitter user @JorCru was incredulous that the network would allow such serious issues to be downplayed in favor of comedy. Professional writer and author @Gabalexa saw red in more ways than one: “If my very public intimate partner violence trial was made into an ‘SNL’ sketch, I’d go all out on Scarlet Witch at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.” and @MarcusL_Crassus had strong opinions about the racist caricatures in the skit, as well as the hypocrisy with which he felt the show reported the “Will Smith Oscars slap.” Almost the only people laughing were news media, who enjoyed finding headlines about feces.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.