Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media Studies

Reader 1

T. Kim-Trang Tran

Reader 2

Alyson Ogasian

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Rights Information

© 2022 Genevieve J. Hume


Through the video essay form, "Trial By Firestorm: The Depp v. Heard Defamation Trial and The Generation of Affect" applies a theoretical read of affect to the defamation suit between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Broken apart into subsections, the video explores affect as it relates to the cultivation of a celebrity persona, affect as it relates to narrative formation, and affect as it relates to social media economies. In doing so, "Trial By Firestorm" asserts that the contexts of the entertainment industry and Web 2.0 brought structural forces to bear on both the response to the trial and the dueling characterizations of its central figures in Depp and Heard. Ultimately, the video challenges the notion that celebrity issues are somehow more trivial or less deserving of our time and attention. "Trial By Firestorm," instead, positions Depp v. Heard as a site of deeper understanding about broader sociocultural issues like the backlash to #MeToo and the pervasiveness of networked harassment and abuse.

Streaming Media

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.