After nearly two months of dominating headlines, the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial prepared to announce its verdict on Wednesday afternoon, and within minutes, it had already racked up more live viewers than the season finales of Abbott Elementary and Better Call Saul. (Technically, Better Call Saul‘s was a mid-season finale, but you get the gist.)
At the time of this writing, over 3 million viewers were streaming the courtroom proceedings on YouTube alone, which again, are the kind of numbers that TV networks would consider a huge win. And that’s not even counting live feed on Twitter and Court TV who saw a massive boom in viewership, which the relaunched network likened to the O.J. Simpson trial.
The Depp vs. Heard trial has been highly contentious thanks to legions of online Depp fans (and some celebrities) defending the actor against Heard’s accusations of domestic violence. Those accusations stood up during a libel suit in British court where Depp failed to successfully sue The Sun for calling him a “wife beater.” However, an American jury has ruled against Heard and issued a verdict that she defamed Depp with malice. It was a stunning verdict considering Depp’s celebrity status, which often significantly raises the bar in proving defamation. As of this writing, Heard will be forced to pay her ex-husband $15 million instead of the proposed $50 million that he was seeking.
In short, now might be a good time to stay off social media. Maybe take a little break.