Edinburgh club used memes of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp to promote pirate-themed night

A charity has said it ‘trivialises domestic abuse and sexual violence’


Flare Mondays posted a promotional image for their upcoming pirate-themed club night at WhyNot, which depicted Amber Heard and Johnny Depp with the writing: “Let’s Get Ship Faced”.

In the image, Amber wears an eyepatch while Johnny is in sunglasses and a Flare gold chain.

Dr Marsha Scott from Scottish Women’s Aid described the image as “trivialising highly publicised, upsetting accounts of domestic abuse and sexual violence,”

She said the image sends the message “that women and young people experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence will not be believed or valued in WhyNot.”

In response to the image Flare Mondays stated that the “event stemmed from the many memes on the internet” and that there was never “any intention to trivialise what is going on in the trial.”

Flare Mondays has since deleted the original post and replaced it with a version that no longer features Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

The original image was posted on Tuesday 24th May and was only amended today, after the Edinburgh Tab reached out to Flare for comment.

The original image

The “memeification”of the Johnny and Amber trial is an ongoing issue in the media, with Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, describing the impact these memes might have.

“The online narratives surrounding the broadcast of this trial are very troubling, with the same terrible tropes being seen and heard about survivors of abuse,” Davison said. “It will be deeply triggering for survivors to hear and see these harmful stereotypes.

“This is a dynamic we see being played out time and again. Victim blaming of survivors and negative tropes in social media are not just potentially re-traumatising for survivors, they may well deter others from coming forward to seek justice.”

Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive for Scottish Women’s Aid, told the Edinburgh Tab that: “The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial has created a mockery of abuse for survivors everywhere. To watch these events play out cruelly, while people view the trial as a form of twisted entertainment, has been devastating and re-traumatising.

“We feel this promotional image is trivialising highly publicised, upsetting accounts of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Domestic abuse is not entertainment. Sexual violence is not fun. And the events surrounding abuse are not fodder for a light-hearted night out.

“The message this image sends is that women and young people experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence will not be believed or valued in WhyNot. That their experiences are a joke that can be utilised as the basis for a club night. The decision to run this ad to increase business does a disservice to survivors, to customers, to the neighbourhood, and to Edinburgh.”

The amended image via @flareedinburgh

A spokesperson for Flare Mondays said: “After reading these comments we appreciate the views of the person you spoke to and have since amended our artwork for the event.

“We regularly engage with our student community who suggest event ideas. This event stemmed from the many memes on the internet circulating specifically about the ‘mega pint’ and there was never any intention to trivialise what is going on in the trial.

“The theme for this event is predominantly a pirates dress-up theme, which we do on a regular basis and encourage students to have a fun and safe night out.

“We are delighted to work with Why Not Nightclub as they take the safety of their customers extremely seriously and enjoy an excellent working relationship with Police Scotland, Edinburgh Licensing board and Street Assist.

“We have witnessed first-hand how well our events are handled by the venue management at Why Not and we have been present at training sessions which they have hosted for student safety/wellbeing.

“We apologise if the artwork caused any offence, this was not the intention.”
WhyNot has been contacted for comment.
Women’s Aid are available for anyone experiencing domestic abuse or for anyone who has found the constant media coverage of the Depp and Heard trial upsetting. You can call their 24/7 Helpline on 0800 027 1234