The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.
The cat is wearing a blond wig. From the bottom corner of the frame, a tiny plastic hand, attached to an index finger, comes and swipes the orange feline’s whiskered snout. The video then cuts to the same cat wearing a black wig and bandana; the accompanying voiceover says, “I was walking out of the bedroom. He slapped me across the face, and I said, ‘Johnny, you hit me. You just hit me.’” I’d been avoiding this video for days, ever since reading about it in Rolling Stone. It reportedly got millions of views on TikTok but then went missing. Nevertheless, there it was, in my carousel of suggested reels on Instagram, where the algorithm has figured out I love cat videos—but not that I dislike social media mockery of domestic abuse allegations.
Ever since the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard began in April, a certain kind of stan culture has formed around it. Depp is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming that an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post about being a “public figure representing domestic abuse” has been damaging to his reputation and career. (The piece doesn’t mention the actor by name.) Depp has denied the allegations, and the jury in their trial is also considering a countersuit from Heard. As the case grinds toward its conclusion, scenes from the courtroom have