The site spent thousands on anti-Amber Heard ads
The right-wing Daily Wire has spent thousands on ads discrediting Amber Heard.
A joint investigation by non-profit media Citizens and Vice World News found that the Ben Shapiro-founded outlet spent more than $47,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads promoting misleading claims about the sensational lawsuit.
Johnny Depp sues Heard, his ex-wife, for $50 million in 2018 editorial she wrote referring to herself as a representative of domestic violence. Heard is seeking $100 million in damages.
The case is among the most sensational trials in recent years.
Pro-Depp and anti-Heard content has proliferated online since the trial began.
Some are trying to turn the case into an indictment of #MeToo, the condemnation of sexual harassment and abuse suffered disproportionately by women and girls. Polls regularly Pin up that conservatives are less supportive of women’s rights initiatives in general and more likely to believe that sexual harassment and assault is a problem in society.
Much of the speech is subtle, like a recent Trending TikTok inspired by the character of Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Other posts are more directly aimed at one or the other, but especially Heard.
Depp fans have flooded the internet with false theories and abuse directed at Heard.
The Daily Wire seems to have jumped on the bandwagon.
According to Vice, he promotes numerous advertisements that mostly link to articles on his site, including one titled “the attempted assassination of Johnny Depp”. The article allegedly included false claims, one of which was corrected by the outlet after Vicereport.
The Daily Wire reportedly spent between $20,000 and $25,000, or about half of the total amount spent on trial advertisements, for this advertisement.
Another ad links to a story listing “the 14 most shocking revelations” from the trial. Vice reports that 11 of the so-called revelations are favorable to Depp.
These ads, which he promotes on his own page as well as those of his contributors like Shapiro and Candace Owens, have so far received 4 million impressions.
In promoted position, Owens wrote, “After watching a good chunk of the trial, I’m still squarely on Team Depp.” In another, she said, “I hope Johnny Depp puts Amber Heard out of business with his lawsuit.”
“It was absolutely ridiculous what this woman was allowed to do because she flew under the radar of the MeToo movement.”
The Daily Wire did not respond to request for comment from Vice.
Facebook did not respond to an emailed request for comment on the report Monday afternoon.
“What he seems to be doing here is capitalizing on the hype surrounding the lawsuit to draw readers to his site while pushing his conservative agenda,” Citizens said in a TikTok about the Daily Wire’s spending.
@allthecitizens Why is right-wing outlet The Daily Wire pouring money into anti #AmberHeard content? #journalist #journalism #news #learnontiktok #dogsteppedonabee #deppvheard ♬ Pirates of the Caribbean – Main Theme – He’s a Pirate – Geek Music
“They are using it to attack MeToo,” one TikTok user commented.
The Daily Wire is one of the most popular facebook pages. Its posts, and those of its contributors, consistently rank at the top in terms of engagement and reach.
While wading in Depp v. heard speech and using its enormous platform to put a thumbs up in favor of the former, the Daily Wire is having an immeasurable impact on public opinion of the lawsuit, both parties, and potentially MeToo.
“So before jumping on a meme that sheds light on the abuse allegations in this lawsuit, maybe think twice about where it came from and how it spread online,” the authors said. Citizens on TikTok.
*First published: May 23, 2022, 1:06 p.m. CDT
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot and covers all things politics and technology, with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.