It’s understandable that Dr. David Spiegel wouldn’t be happy with his internet legacy after the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial in which he testified as a paid expert for Team Amber. His testimony got nuked on cross by super-lawyer Wayne Dennison, “the expert destroyer” as he’s come to be known online. Dennison made minced meat out of Spiegel’s testimony that was littered with gems like this:
Dr. Spiegel’s testimony was nothing short of ridiculous. He has to know this. But instead of owning up to how bizarre and unprofessional it was to attempt to diagnose Depp by watching his movies and interviews, Spiegel has written an op-ed in Newsweek blaming all of you for laughing at his batsh*t crazy performance. In “I Testified in the Heard vs. Depp Trial. The Backlash Has Been Horrific,” Spiegel wrote about experiencing his fifteen minutes of fame. SPOILER: He didn’t enjoy it.
The volume of it, from the personal attacks on who I am and what I present like, to what I look like and say, was obviously a little hurtful. I deal with people for a living, so I tried to understand where people were coming from. It’s what a psychiatrist does. But the comments below the YouTube videos of me have been vile. And, some people have access to my work email, so I’ve gotten four or five charming editorials about myself.
Doctor, the first rule of YouTube is “don’t read the comments.” Ever.
Perhaps Spiegel got a taste of what Depp has been going through for the last six years, when no one believed he was the victim of abuse and instead painted him as the abuser. False depictions hurt, and Spiegel’s client, Amber Heard, is the queen of fabricating false allegations. Her experts who helped her corroborate her lies should feel the sting of taint by association. How on earth didn’t they see it?
There are few people alive today who have not been the target of some online campaign at some point. Whether a small business responding to a negative barrage of Yelp! reviews after some public embarrassment or a journalist like myself who says something that stirs up a hornet’s nest, that’s the reality of the Internet. Put your big boy pants on; it won’t last very long.
I was hopeful that Spiegel would address major criticisms from people who were mostly concerned by his violation of the Goldwater rule, when he armchair diagnosed someone he’d never even spoken to in person. He didn’t. Instead, he complained about some salty reviews.
My WebMD page has now been closed to comments, but if you looked at the site beforehand there were probably seven or eight reviews and all of a sudden on Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24 there were hundreds, so it was pretty obvious what had happened.
Yes, doctor. People on the internet will hit your reviews first. They’re just trying to express themselves, and the sites hosting the reviews will eventually cull the fake ones and restore your rating. It’s literally a matter of waiting 24 hours for the system to catch up. You’ll survive it.
Then Dr. Spiegel compared the internet laughing at him to psychotic killers threatening to kill him. No, really.
During my career, I have dealt with people who are not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and I’ve dealt with people who are psychotic and have threatened to kill me, and it has never fazed me one iota, but this did. You start realizing that it really just takes one person who is not seeing things right.
I think I’d be more concerned with actual killers who know my name and address whom I helped lock up than internet jokesters just out for the lulz, but that’s just me. But then Spiegel went into territory that is just nuts. He blamed Depp for not calling off the jokesters, as if Depp had any control over the Internet.
I would have liked Mr. Depp to get ahead of this and to have said, “Listen, I understand you are upset, but there are ways to express how to be upset.” The fact that he hasn’t probably says potential volumes about him. Ms. Heard hasn’t come out and said anything either, but my opinion is that she is the most vulnerable person in this situation. If I had groupies and I saw them attacking and harassing someone they don’t know, I would have said what I said during the trial; that there are ways to express dissatisfaction, and then there are ways not to. I think when Mr. Depp first noticed this behavior from his fans, he should have re-directed their emotions.
I like how Spiegel excused Amber Heard from any responsibility, despite a jury unanimously finding she was not “vulnerable” nor was she a victim of domestic violence. He is still operating under the delusion that Heard is a victim instead of a perpetrator.
Then Spiegel tried to make us feel sorry about his potential client losses.
There is potential for professional fall back. I don’t think it’s going to be that 80 percent of my patients will stop seeing me. But do I think some will, who I don’t know well enough? They might.
Well, if they did drop him, it’s because of Spiegel’s behavior on the stand and not the Internet’s meming of it. Spiegel acted like an out-of-control, know-it-all fool. He was caught calling Depp an “idiot” during his deposition, which is not at all unbiased, as an expert witness is supposed to be. Add that to the strange and creepy tongue and mouth movements that no one understood and his insistence that Depp is cognitively impaired based on nothing but his observations from afar, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he lost a few clients. That client loss has nothing to do with the Internet and everything to do with Spiegel’s outrageous and combative behavior on the stand coupled with his unethical attempt to diagnose a person he has never interviewed.
Spiegel wants to make the world feel sorry for him for being mocked on the Internet by insinuating that he received dangerous threats. He wrote about being glad he has a pitbull because of how “unsafe” he feels…because of memes.
But I have people expressing emotion that is hurtful and harmful, whether it be words or the ton of memes I’ve seen that are supposed to look like me when I’m testifying. I would ask people to remember that there are appropriate ways that you can say you are dissatisfied with my testimony or that it may have been short-sighted. I’m an expert at this.
Oh, Dr. Spiegel, no! The worst thing you can do is shake your finger at the Internet and tell them to be more “appropriate.” This is like waving a red flag at a mad and injured bull. Stop!
Never in my life have I been the target of such voluminous amounts of hate, ever. I will process the emotion, but it will always be there; the knowledge that I was on the receiving end of such venom.
But Spiegel didn’t offer one shred of evidence to prove he’s been credibly threatened with anything. I think we can all agree that joke memes and videos of his own testimony are not threats against his life. So what did he provide as proof of this supposed danger? “I have received a piece of derogatory mail to my professional address and one rude phone call that was fielded by my staff.”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Perhaps we should let Spiegel read PJ Media’s hatemail inbox. Nut up, sir. This is the Thunderdome.