Saturday Night Live might have thought they were doing something funny by spoofing the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial in their cold open, but they probably weren’t expecting a backlash to the skit. Viewers are reminding the long-running NBC show that domestic violence just isn’t funny.
The sketch started with Kate McKinnon portraying MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace mocking the “cuckoo trial.” McKinnon said, “Look, I know it’s not the most pertinent story of the moment but with all the problems in the world, isn’t it nice to have a news story we can all collectively watch and say, ‘Ooh, glad it ain’t me’?” The rest of the cold open focused much of the comedy on whose fecal matter landed in the couple’s marital bed. In real life, Depp alleges it was Heard who defecated in the bed while the Aquaman star believes it was one of their dogs who had intestinal troubles after swallowing some weed.
Sex and culture critic Ella Dawson chimed in with her thoughts on the SNL sketch reminding her followers that “domestic violence is not a joke.” She added in a thread of tweets, “The premise of the sketch was that the trial is ‘fun’ and for public amusement. Rape is not a joke. Abusers using the legal system to continue to terrorize their victims is not a joke. Abusers using accusations of defamation to silence their victims is not a joke.” She also criticized the media coverage for making the trial a circus instead of seriously focusing on the issues of mental health and domestic violence.
The truth of the trial is that there are no winners, no matter what a judge rules in the case. Depp has admitted to long-standing troubles with drugs and alcohol, and Heard’s mental health has been weaponized in the case. The relationship was toxic on both sides of the equation and shouldn’t be parodied like it’s an episode of The Simpsons. These are real lives and serious allegations, but nobody on the SNL writing staff seemed to interpret it that way.
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