Gloria Steineim and feminist groups back Amber Heard in open letter blasting ‘victim-blaming tropes’ after Johnny Depp trial
Posted by  badge Boss on Nov 17
Amber Heard was taken to court by her ex-husband for defamation (Picture: Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)

has been offered support in signed by over 130 women’s rights organisations and writer Gloria Steinem.

The actress received backlash after she lost a defamation lawsuit against her former husband, , in June.

Condemning the harassment Amber experienced after her time in court, groups such as the National Organisation for Women and Women’s March signed the letter that offered the Aquaman star their support.

Groups providing relief and awareness for sexual assault and domestic violence were also signatories of the document.

Speaking to why the groups felt Amber had been mistreated, a portion of the letter read: ‘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 former married couple spent seven weeks in the courtroom (Picture: STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Gloria Steinem signed the letter of support for Amber (Picture: Jean Catuffe/GC Images)

The message of support, originally shared with , continued on: ‘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.

The actor was awarded damages at the end of the trial (Picture: Cliff Owen/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)
The open letter received over 130 signatories (Picture: Steve Helber / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

‘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.’

Timeline of Johnny Depp's libel trial

2013

– 8 March: Mr Depp allegedly tries to set fire to a painting by Ms Heard’s ex-partner Tasya van Ree before he is said to have attacked her for the first time, which the actor denies.
2015

– 3 February: The couple marry in a private ceremony at their home in Los Angeles.

– 3-5 March: The key incident in The Sun’s defence, the three-day trip to Australia has been described by Ms Heard as a ‘three-day hostage situation’ in which Mr Depp was allegedly physically and verbally abusive while drinking heavily and taking drugs.

Mr Depp denies the allegations and says Ms Heard lost her temper after a conversation about a post-nuptial agreement.

– 21 April: The couple arrive in Australia with their pet Yorkshire Terriers Boo and Pistol, which they did not declare to customs officials in Queensland. Ms Heard was charged later with bringing the dogs into the country illegally – the charges were later dropped and the pair later recorded a bizarre video apologising for bringing their dogs to Australia.

2016

– Around 22 May: The pair separated, Ms Heard claims after an incident at their LA penthouse in which Mr Depp allegedly became very angry and destroyed property with a bottle of champagne.

– 23 May: Ms Heard files petition for the dissolution of their marriage.

– 27 May: Ms Heard applies for a temporary domestic violence restraining order, which prevents Mr Depp from contacting her.

– 16 August: The estranged couple reach an agreement concerning the dissolution of their marriage. Ms Heard later donates her seven million US dollar (£5.5 million) settlement to charity.

2017

– 13 January: The couple are formally divorced.

2018

– 27 April: The column by The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton is published online at around 10pm. Under the headline “Gone Potty – How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”, Mr Wootton asked if the Harry Potter author had been ‘blinded by a personal friendship’ with Mr Depp.

The piece also quoted two alleged victims of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, which Mr Depp says was included to ‘finish his career’.

– 28 April: The following day, the online article is amended to remove the words ‘wife beater’ from the headline, which was not included in the print edition.

– 1 June: Mr Depp files his libel claim against News Group Newspapers. His written claim, filed a few weeks later, claims the article ‘caused serious harm to (his) personal and professional reputation’ and also caused him ‘significant distress and embarrassment’.

– 18 December: The Washington Post publishes an op-ed by Ms Heard which did not mention Mr Depp by name, but said that the actress ‘became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out’.

2019

– 27 February: Mr Depp fights off a bid to halt his English legal action after The Sun applies for his claim to be ‘stayed unless and until’ the star confirmed in writing that he would not sue Ms Heard if she participated in a forthcoming trial.

– 1 March: Mr Depp files a libel case against Ms Heard in Virginia, blaming the Washington Post piece for Mr Depp being dropped from the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise and claiming that Ms Heard was the one who had been abusive towards him.

2020

– 26 February: Johnny Depp attends the High Court in London for a preliminary hearing ahead of a trial which was due to begin the following month. The star heard NGN’s barrister Adam Wolanski read out texts sent by Mr Depp, including one from November 2013 to actor Paul Bettany, in which Mr Depp wrote: ‘Let’s burn Amber.’

He also wrote: ‘Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will f*** her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she is dead.’

– 20 March: The trial, which was due to begin on 23 March, is postponed due to the global coronavirus crisis. NGN’s lawyers had claimed Mr Depp wanted to delay the trial ‘because he’s a coward and because he knows he’s going to lose’, which was denied by Mr Depp’s legal team.

– 8 April: Mr Justice Nicol rules that parts of Ms Heard’s evidence, relating to allegations of sexual violence, will be heard in private.

– 13 May: The court gives permission for Mr Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder – who both say Mr Depp was ‘never violent’ to them – to give evidence. Ms Heard’s former personal assistant Kate James is also permitted to give evidence.

– 25 June: NGN asks the court to throw out Mr Depp’s claim just two weeks before trial over the star’s failure to disclose text messages of him apparently trying to buy drugs in Australia in 2015. The publisher’s lawyers say Mr Depp deliberately withheld text messages they say show him trying to obtain ‘MDMA and other narcotics’.

– 29 June: Mr Justice Nicol rules that Mr Depp did breach a court order by not disclosing documents from separate libel proceedings against Ms Heard in the US – which include the text messages. But Mr Depp’s lawyers argue that it would be ‘wholly disproportionate’ to strike out the actor’s libel claim.

– 2 July: The High Court rules Mr Depp’s claim can go ahead after granting his application for ‘relief from sanctions’ for the breach of a court order.

– 4 July: The trial judge, Mr Justice Nicol refuses an application by Mr Depp’s lawyers to exclude Ms Heard from court until she gives evidence.

The case that sparked the controversy for the actress was filed by Johnny after Amber referred to herself as a ‘public figure representing domestic abuse’ in a Washington Post column.

Despite not mentioning the Pirates of the Caribbean actor by name, claimed the article nodded at accusations made against him following the couple’s divorce in 2017.

Outside the courtroom, Amber faced an onslaught of online criticism, with fans of the actor slating her for supposedly lying about being a survivor of domestic abuse during her relationship with Johnny.

After a trial that lasted seven weeks, the Edward Scissorhands actor was ultimately awarded $10.35million (£8.7m) in damages.

Domestic abuse helpline

If you are in immediate danger call 999. If you cannot talk, dial 55 and the operator will respond.

For emotional support, you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. Alternatively, for practical and emotional support, please contact 10am – 6pm seven days a week.

You can also reach the National Centre for Domestic Violence on 0800 270 9070 or text NCDV to 60777.

For free and confidential advice and support for women in London affected by abuse, you can call Solace on 0808 802 5565 or email [email protected]

Male victims of domestic abuse can call 01823 334244 to speak to , an initiative available for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence across the UK as well as their friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues and employers.

Alternatively, the can be reached at 0808 8010327, or emailed at [email protected]