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Really, NBC? Recruiting the Face of Johnny Depp’s Legal Team?

Camille Vasquez on air on NBC as a legal analyst

NBC has decided to hire Johnny Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, as a legal analyst – a decision that hasn’t sat well with their own staff. Given NBC’s own reporting of the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial and the fact that the company is undergoing layoffs, it is understandable that staff would have concerns about her hiring. There is also the fact that their decision to hire her is likely partially because her representation of Depp made her an internet sensation.

TikTok users made Vasquez go viral as they fawned over her and praised her for representing Depp in his defamation case against Heard. Much of the praise surrounding her had little to do with the actual quality of her defense and work, and more to do with the fact that she was representing a powerful man against an alleged victim of abuse. Depp’s rabid fans, who led a smear campaign against Heard and tarnished the #MeToo movement with their hatred and spread of misinformation, quickly latched onto Vasquez and hailed her as a hero. Fans were so blindly enamored by her that when false rumors spread alleging that the married lawyer was in an unethical relationship with Depp, fans actually gleefully supported the idea and even “shipped” the pair on TikTok.

Criminal defense attorney, Rebecca Kavanagh, wrote an interesting Twitter thread questioning Vasquez’s professionalism and why the lawyer got away with laughing, smirking, and interrupting Heard and witnesses during the trial. Of course, any criticism of Vasquez has been pushed under the rug, including the fact that she signed on to represent Kanye West immediately after Depp before dropping him after his Anti-Semitism sparked outrage. After the Depp vs. Heard trial, she was promoted to a partner at the law firm she worked for, Brown Rudnick, and is now moving up as a legal analyst on NBC.

What NBC staff thinks of Vasquez’s recruitment

One reason why Vasquez’s role at NBC has raised eyebrows is that her hiring seems to go against the company’s own reporting of the Depp vs. Heard trial. Part of NBC’s coverage of the trial included releasing a documentary titled A Marriage on Trial: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, and Truth in the Age of Social Media. The documentary examined the social media frenzy that the case sparked, the vast spread of misinformation on social media, the influence of social media on the case, and what serious connotations the case could have in future domestic abuse cases. One NBC reporter, Kat Tenbarge, also covered the case and tried to expose social media misinformation and harassment.

Her reporting caused her to suffer the unprecedented vitriol of Depp’s fans, who quickly set up a petition to try to get her fired from NBC for daring to examine the case without being noticeably biased in favor of Depp. Now, after NBC received the wrath and bullying of Depp’s fans, and after one reporter was the victim of online bullies trying to discredit her as a journalist, NBC has gone and hired Depp’s lawyer as a legal analyst.

Unsurprisingly, it has been reported that her hiring has not sat well with the staff. It has reportedly caused murmurings in the newsroom and sparked at least one written complaint to management from a journalist concerned by Vasquez’s hiring. The journalists reportedly fear that Vasquez’s hiring by NBC “discounts” NBC’s previous reporting on the case. One NBC staffer stated, “For her to end up in this branding, as an NBC News Analyst — it puts her in league with the journalists of this network, and that’s unfortunate.”

Did NBC really have to hire Vasquez?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, multiple news organizations were vying for Vasquez before NBC proved the winner. It must’ve been quite the lucrative deal they inked with her, because at the same time reports arose that they laid off roughly 75 employees. It was largely staff members and off-air employees such as tech producers and journalists who faced the brunt of the layoffs, while on-air talent remained safe. Despite the discontent of NBC’s journalists, Vasquez has already made her first appearance on the show and started off by talking about the Idaho University murders. When asked about how social media could impact the case, she replied that it could be useful but also damaging when it results in people making false claims.

Since the Depp vs. Heard case, Vasquez has never once addressed the widespread misinformation on social media, the smear campaign against Heard, and the harassment and bullying of witnesses, journalists, and anyone else who didn’t openly support Depp. She has simply been riding the waves of fame that came with social media’s questionable influence and is now the face of NBC. Ultimately, hiring someone for social media clout while disregarding and laying off their own staff doesn’t seem like a smart choice. Especially when that woman attained her fame for sucking up to a powerful man and laughing at the testimony of an alleged victim of abuse.

(featured image: NBC)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.