Constance Wu, Gloria Steinem and others back Amber Heard in open letter calling out ‘vilification’ of star

More than 130 signatories including the writer Gloria Steinem and notable women’s rights organizations have published an open letter in support of the actor Amber Heard

Constance Wu, Gloria Steinem and others back Amber Heard in open letter calling out ‘vilification’ of star
Constance Wu and Gloria Steinem back Amber Heard who faced harassment after losing Johnny Depp defamation suit (Jon Kopaloff/Win McNamee/Rob Kim/Getty Images)
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After the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial, more than 100 people and numerous organizations are backing Amber Heard in an open letter, calling the trial verdict "damaging." Actress Constance Wu, author, and activist Gloria Steinem, and former prosecutor Moira Penza, who oversaw the prosecution of NXIVM's Keith Raniere in 2019, are among some of the signatories. 

On Wednesday, November 16, numerous top organizations and individuals focused on women's rights and domestic violence signed an open letter in support of Heard, 36, against "vilification," "ongoing online harassment" and "unprecedented" vitriol. They emphasized that the trial verdict might have "damaging consequences" for other survivors who come forward. It comes months after Heard lost a defamation trial filed in Virginia against her by her ex-husband Johnny Depp, over an opinion piece published under her name in The Washington Post, in which she described herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." The trial opened in April and aired in full online and on TV. It was discussed, often flippantly, on social media via memes and other content. In June, the jury largely ruled in Depp’s favor, finding that Heard had defamed him on three statements.

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The letter reads, "Five months ago, the verdict in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard deeply concerned many professionals in the fields of intimate partner and sexual violence." The letter continues, "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. 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," they continue. "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." The letter concludes by adding, "We condemn the public shaming of Amber Heard and join in support of her. We support the ability of all to report intimate partner and sexual violence free of harassment and intimidation."

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More than 100 individuals put their names to the letter, including Gloria Steinem, Constance Wu, Allen v. Farrow director Amy Ziering, along with organizations including Women’s March Action, the feminist publication Ms Magazine, the National Organization for Women, and more.

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