- More than 100 individuals and dozens of orgs have signed an open letter supporting Amber Heard.
- The letter slams Heard’s “public shaming” which has been “unprecedented in both vitriol and scale.”
- Heard largely lost a defamation lawsuit filed by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, in June.
More than a hundred people and dozens of organizations have signed an open letter in support of Amber Heard, published five months after the actress lost a defamation case lodged by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.
The signatories — including organizations like Women’s March Action and individuals like Gloria Steinem — “condemn the public shaming of Amber Heard” and the online harassment of her supporters, which they said has been “unprecedented in both vitriol and scale.”
“Much of this harassment was fueled by disinformation, misogyny, biphobia, and a monetized social media environment where a woman’s allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault were mocked for entertainment. The same disinformation and victim-blaming tropes are now being used against others who have alleged abuse,” the letter, published Wednesday, reads.
The letter continued: “In our opinion, the Depp v. Heard verdict and continued discourse around it indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of intimate partner and sexual violence and how survivors respond to it. The damaging consequences of the spread of this misinformation are incalculable. We have grave concerns about the rising misuse of defamation suits to threaten and silence survivors.”
Representatives for Heard did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment Wednesday. A spokesperson for Depp declined to comment.
The letter marks perhaps the largest public show of support for Heard. In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, the discourse on social media was largely pro-Depp, something a spokesperson of the letter signers noted to NBC News, which got a preview of the letter.
The spokesperson said that after the trial “individuals were afraid to speak out” in support of Heard “because they saw what was happening to the few who had.”
During the trial, Heard supporters spoke to Insider’s Charissa Cheong about the torrent of abuse they faced online from Depp fans for defending Heard on social media.
Katie Diaz told Insider she received threatening direct messages and tweets from people who appeared to support Depp. Jennifer, another Heard supporter, said that a lot of the comments toward her were misogynistic in nature. Isa Ford, a 20-year-old Heard supporter from France, said some encouraged her to harm herself.
In June, a Fairfax County, Virginia, jury largely sided with Depp after a six-week defamation trial centered on allegations of domestic-violence allegations.
Depp claimed that Heard ruined his career by insinuating in a 2018 op-ed that she had been the victim of domestic violence, and said that he had been the real victim in their relationship. Heard countersued and spent several days on the stand detailing multiple incidents where she said Depp physically assaulted her during their relationship.
But the jury ultimately sided with Depp on all three of his defamation complaints, awarding Heard just one of her three counterclaims. Heard was ordered to pay Depp $10 million compensatory damages and $5 million punitive damages, while Depp was ordered to pay Heard just $2 million in compensatory damages. Both Heard and Depp are appealing the judgments.