Doja Cat is on the receiving end of backlash after she filmed and posted a TikTok where she imitates Amber Heard’s testimony from her and Johnny Depp’s defamation trial, testimony that already sparked a TikTok trend used to mock Heard.
In the video, Doja Cat is recounting how her new puppy had stepped on a bee. But her caption on the video hints at there being more than just the story as it states, “i, as a dog owner, can now finally say it with sincerity.” And as she relays the story, she pauses for dramatic tension but can’t help but smile before she says what happened next.
“She was just running around the grass and she steps on a bee,” Doja Cat said. “So y’all know what time it is. Y’all know what fucking time it is!”
She then launches into repeating the phrase “My dog stepped on a bee” while turning her head to the side as she emphasized the word “bee.”
On Instagram Live, Doja Cat explained the process of removing the bee stinger from her dog’s paw, but she also reiterated that now that it happened to her, she can actually reference “my dog stepped on a bee” because it happened to her.
Doja Cat is referencing testimony from the defamation trial that took the internet by storm for several weeks in April and May. (A jury would award Depp more than $10 million and Heard $2 million in damages; Heard is appealing the verdict.) On one of the days that Heard, who Depp sued over a Washington Post op-ed, took to the stand, she said that Depp performed a cavity search on her after accusing her of stealing his drugs and mentioned that “my dog stepped on a bee” some time afterward, leading Heard to take the dog to the vet.
Like many aspects of Heard’s testimony and demeanor throughout the trial, her comment about her dog stepping on a bee—and the facial expressions she made after uttering those words—were widely mocked. It turned into a TikTok meme in which people uttered attempted to imitate Heard’s facial expressions while uttering similar-sounding variations on “my dog stepped on a bee.”
On Twitter, where the video was reposted and went viral, it’s the source of backlash against Doja Cat from people calling her out for mocking Heard, with some pointing out how even the initial TikTok trend was harmful.
Others explained the issue behind Doja Cat’s video—which might not register as mockery without previous context—and highlighted why they found it troubling. But some pro-Depp accounts also took exception to how the conversation was framed in part because of the sympathetic lens toward Heard.
Doja Cat has since deleted the TikTok, although she hasn’t addressed the criticism behind it.