Over the course of the six-week trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, dozens of digital micro-celebrities emerged. With their livestream viewing parties, YouTube analyses and constant meme-making, they were able to brand themselves as pseudo-experts and personalities relevant to the public’s perception and understanding of the case. One YouTube creator named Colonel Kurtz, who’s been posting for the last year, more than doubled her subscribers and view counts over the last 30 days, simply by covering the trial.
Frequently, these micro-brands were steeped in misogyny and vitriol toward Heard. But now, with the trial having ended, creators need new content in line with their narrative of women as false accusers. And, as MEL’s Miles Klee predicted last week, they’ve immediately found it in Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson.
In their telling, Wood, Manson’s former fiancée, is the villainous Heard parallel who concocted a multi-person plot to destroy Manson’s reputation amid the #MeToo movement. After Wood went public in 2021 with her allegations of years of grooming, sexual abuse and emotional manupilation against Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, over a dozen others came forth with similarly horrific claims of physical and sexual assault from him as well. All of these allegations have been brought to the L.A. District Attorney, but they’ve either been dropped or not investigated. Manson is now suing Wood for defamation, much in the same vein of Depp’s case against Heard.
Despite the several corroborative reports, nearly 25 years of accusations and admissions on Manson’s part of threatening rape and nearly attempting murder, Colonel Kurtz and her ilk have begun branding this case as “Depp vs. Heard 2.0,” or an even more extreme example of women making false allegations against men. Case in point: Kurtz titled a recent video, “The Hoax Against Marilyn Manson Is Amber Heard vs. Johnny Depp on Steroids.”
In it, she says that she’s had a “dawning, existential dread” ever since the Depp situation came to a close. “I’ve got some good news for those of you who are filled with that existential dread about ‘What am I going to do with my life? Who am I if I’m not this person who watches this Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard saga unfolding before me?’” she explains. “I have some great news for you, because as it turns out, in this situation there’s a sequel.” (In fairness, she does state she’s being sarcastic on this point at least.) She then goes on to detail how Wood is lying about Manson, potentially in partnership with Heard, and that the media is attempting to over-inflate the number of accusations against him.
For many Depp fans like Kurtz, the cases are deeply connected. Depp and Manson are close friends, as are Heard and Wood. From their perspective, the accusations against both men are part of a campaign orchestrated by Heard and Wood to take the men of Hollywood down. As such, they’re treating Heard and Wood as part of a broader movement to expose “gold digging women” and “lying bitches,” as some TikTokers and memes have illuminated.
The thing is, this movement doesn’t seem dedicated to the truth or male victims of abuse, as would be commendable. Instead, it seems to highlight the ways in which women supposedly can’t be trusted and turns these faulty “revelations” into a public spectacle. The swiftness with which the Manson case has become the new hot topic only highlights this further — with Heard now facing what they see as justice, they need another enemy to capitalize upon.
And with Wood in their crosshairs, they can keep the content — and view counts — flowing.