Amber Heard has been a lightning rod for controversy as of late. The actress has been caught up in a nasty public dispute with ex-husband Johnny Depp, and that has led to Depp being removed from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the next installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Meanwhile, Heard is finding herself at the center of a campaign to remove her from Aquaman 2. And she thinks there is money behind it.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Amber Heard acknowledged the growing movement to have her fired from her role as Mera in Aquaman 2. “Paid rumors and paid campaigns on social media don’t dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality,” Heard said. It seems that she is accusing any attempts at having her removed from the cast of Aquaman 2 as being motivated by some particular figures that are pumping money into these outrcries.
In all fairness to Amber Heard, there has certainly been a rise in coordinated bad faith campaigns across social media over the last decade when it comes to many different issues. Troll farms are a real issue and it is important to trace the legitimacy of certain social media movements. It is also vital that we track what particular groups latch onto specific cultural issues and why they might be amplifying certain opinions to better propagate their own agendas.
However, when it comes to the fervor surrounding Amber Heard, she does not seem to offer any evidence that there are “paid campaigns” trying to have her removed from Aquaman 2. Is her claim worth investigating? Absolutely, but it seems like the public furor surrounding her and Johnny Depp does not need a lot of external support to take off. Celebrity gossip and public opinion about such issues have always been able to gain traction on their own. It’s a fundamental (if admittedly gross) facet of modern civilization and our relationship to celebrity culture.
There is definitely going to be some sort of reckoning when it comes to Amber Heard’s involvement with Aquaman 2. It seems that Warner Bros. is committed to taking her side in this fight. Will that end up actually costing them some bad press once Aquaman 2 gets going? Or will they be able to shift the narrative in their favor? And is the contingent of fans who say they will boycott the movie actually sizable enough to make an impact? These are all valid questions that will only be answered once Aquaman 2 is out there in the world.
And that is what we will have to wait for with all this madness surrounding Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. It is deeply unfortunate that the private lives of these two people have been smeared across the headlines so much. It has caused fans to feel compelled by a binary drive to “pick a side” and create division among ourselves. That is something we continue to see proliferate through the medium of social media. Whether or not someone is paying for these movements against Heard, they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do: sew discord and conflict throughout the populace.