Amber Heard: several personalities and feminist organisations sign a letter of support for the actress after her lawsuit against Johnny Depp
Signed by the likes of Gloria Steinem and Constance Wu, the letter expresses "grave concerns" about the harassment and misinformation that Amber Heard has been subjected to during her ex-husband Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit.
Nearly six months after losing a high-profile defamation lawsuit brought by her ex-husband Johnny Depp, Amber Heard is receiving a wave of support. More than 130 celebrities and organisations specialising in women's rights, domestic violence and sexual assault awareness have signed an open letter of support for the actress. They include feminist icon Gloria Steinem, the National Organization for Women, the National Women's Law Center, Equality Now and the Women's March Foundation.
The letter denounces the "unprecedented" defamation and "ongoing online harassment" of Amber Heard and those who expressed support for her during and after the trial. "Much of this harassment has been fueled by misinformation, misogyny, biphobia and a monetized social media environment where allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault of a woman have been mocked for entertainment," the letter notes. "The same tropes of misinformation and victim-blaming are now being used against others who have also come forward to report abuse."
"In our view, the Depp v. Heard verdict and the ongoing debates reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of sexual and intimate partner violence and how survivors respond to it," the letter continues. "The harmful consequences of spreading this misinformation are incalculable. We are deeply concerned about the increasing misuse of libel suits to threaten and silence survivors."
"One of the largest public demonstrations of support for Heard"
The lawsuit was over an op-ed piece written by Amber Heard for the Washington Post, titled "I have revolted against sexual violence and faced the anger of our society. This must change", in which the actress called herself a "public figure representing domestic violence". Johnny Depp was never mentioned by name in the essay, but his lawyers successfully argued that Amber Heard was indirectly referring to the public allegations she made against him during their divorce proceedings. The actor denied all of these accusations outright. His ex-wife, however, won part of her countersuit. She was awarded $2 million after the same jury found that Johnny Depp's former lawyer had defamed her by saying the assault allegations were fabricated. Both Depp and Heard intend to appeal the verdicts.
NBC News reporters Kat Tenbarge and Kalhan Rosenblatt said the letter published on 16 November was "one of the largest public displays of support for Heard after months of silence from many groups following the verdict". A spokeswoman for the letter's co-authors told NBC that she believes "individuals were afraid to speak out" after the trial "because they saw what happened to the few who did.
The two actors got married after meeting on the set of The Rum Diaries. They were married for just over a year before she filed for divorce in 2016, citing "irreconcilable differences". Days later, Amber Heard also filed a domestic violence restraining order against her ex-husband. She reportedly submitted a photo showing a bruise over her eye as evidence to the court.