Entertainment And News

Duolingo Slammed After ‘Insensitive’ Amber Heard Joke Backfires

Photo: Matteo Chinellato / Devina Saputri / Shutterstock
Amber Heard, Johnny Depp, Duolingo

The Duolingo TikTok is widely known across the platform for its cheeky posts and Gen-Z brand humor.

There comes a time when brands are supposed to speak out about certain issues in order to provide audiences with a hint into what the company aligns itself with, but the Amber Heard v. Johnny Depp trial is not one of those issues.

Or at the very least, if you're going to speak out, avoid making light of serious accusations.

Duolingo's TikTok account made an insensitive joke about the Amber Heard v. Johnny Depp trial.

Under an NBC News TikTok that was covering the Heard v. Depp trial, the manager of the Duolingo TikTok account decided it would be a good idea to issue a reply in the form of a joke.

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In the TikTok, Depp’s lawyer asks Heard if she continued her abuse after he left by calling him an abuser, to which she replied that he is one.



“He is an abuser, and you can look either of us up online and figure out who’s being abused online,” she said.

Her statement is in reference to the Depp fandom bubble that exists in the TikTok world.

TikTok has become home to memes and videos making fun of Heard’s testimonies, creating a dangerous precedent for how we treat people making abuse allegations

Even in the comments to this TikTok, you can see people continuing to spread their hatred for Heard, right under the now-deleted comment that Duolingo posted that read “y’all think amber watches tiktok”.

There are a lot of things in the world that brands are capable of making a statement about.

RELATED: How TikTok's Coverage Of Amber Heard & Johnny Depp Radicalizes Young People Against Women

Abortion rights, pay gaps, and various campaigns against hatred and discrimination, but tackling the issue of two celebrities involved in domestic abuse cases is not one of those things.

A man named Chris Harihar tweeted, “On what planet does a brand - even @duolingo - think it’s cool to crack jokes about an alleged victim of domestic violence?”

Just because Duolingo is popular on the platform it commented on, does not mean that it is invincible in the grand scope of social media.

Twitter users are furious with whoever made that comment under NBC’s post.

One user jested, “I’d sue Duolingo just to make a point,” adding that the Heard v. Depp trial is “rotting” everyone’s brains.

Someone speculated that whoever is behind the language-learning app’s TikTok account might have accidentally forgotten to switch to their personal account, but another user replied saying it’s “pretty on-brand for the Duolingo account.”

Whatever the case, it’s not right for brands to take the side of either celebrity in this domestic violence case as their involvement provides absolutely nothing for the company and would only cause them to lose support.

Heard v. Depp is not a social justice issue, it’s a lawsuit involving domestic violence, therefore, there’s no reason for a brand to take a stance.

Aside from deleting the comment after facing backlash, Duolingo has yet to respond to the controversy, but the woman behind the TikTok account apologized.

“I made a mistake,” tweeted 24-year-old Zaria Parvez on her now-private Twitter account. 

“It’s deleted and I’m listening. I’m 24 – a yr out of college – managing an account that I didn’t expect to grow how it did & learning social responsibility on a curve. Taking full ownership. It’s an early career lesson for me and I’m learning to be better,” she wrote.

Everyone is allowed to make mistakes, but for Parvez, this one might cost her job.

RELATED: Johnny Depp Fans Target His Daughter With Hateful Messages As She Stays Silent On Amber Heard Trial

Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.