ACLU supports Amber Heard despite confusion over $3.5 million donation

The ACLU is still supporting Amber Heard despite confusion over her donation to the civil rights organization.

That Aquaman star previously pledged to donate the entirety of her $7 million divorce settlement from Johnny Depp to charity, but previous court testimony has proven she has yet to fulfill that promise.

Depp and Heard are embroiled in a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit after Heard wrote a comment in 2018 The Washington Post about being a domestic violence survivor. She has never mentioned her ex-husband Depp by name, but his lawyers argue the insinuation has resulted in a severe loss of potential revenue and acting roles, as well as reputational damage.

In 2016, Heard was praised after she pledged to donate a large sum — $3.5 million each to both the ACLU and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

In court this week, however, Johnny Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, grilled the actress over her vows.

“You still haven’t donated the $7 million divorce settlement to charity. Isn’t that right?” Vasquez introduced Heard, whose cross-examination is now complete.

“Wrong,” Heard replied, “I pledged the entirety-“

belongs to amber
Amber Heard listens during the libel trial of her ex-husband Johnny Depp at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse on May 18, 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia. In 2018, she published an article in The Washington Post in which she identified herself as a public figure who advocates domestic violence.

“No, Ms. Heard. That’s not my question,” Vasquez interrupted Heard. She went on to clarify that she meant donate, not pledge.

“I use deposit and donation as synonyms. They mean the same thing,” Heard said. From that point on, the back-and-forth got hotter, but both women maintained their restrained stance.

“This is how donations are paid,” Heard told Vasquez and the jury.

The ACLU’s chief operating officer testified at the trial last month that Heard had paid only $1.3 million of the $3.5 million she had pledged to the organization.

During testimony, Terence Dougherty said the ACLU received donations of $350,000, $500,000, and $350,000, all “connected” to Heard. The organization’s chief operating officer added that the ACLU now considers a $100,000 payment from Depp to be part of Heard’s gifts.

Heard's ACLU Contribution Form
Evidence appears on a monitor during the $50 million libel trial between Depp and Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia on April 28, 2022.

Dougherty added that Heard hasn’t donated to the civil rights organization since 2019, and testified that he believes Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who had a past relationship with Heard, reportedly played a role in the donations to the ACLU have.

Despite this confusion, the ACLU has released a statement defending the importance of the work Heard has done with the organization.

“In 2016, Ms. Heard pledged to give the ACLU $3.5 million over 10 years,” read the statement, posted to the charity’s website this week.

Donation from Amber Heard to ACLU
Actress Amber Heard did not pay the full $3.5 million she pledged to donate to ACLU, according to Terence Dougherty, the nonprofit’s chief operating officer. Pictured above, Heard speaks with her attorney in the courtroom of the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia on April 18.
Photo by STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“Two years later, in 2018, the ACLU invited Ms. Heard to become an ambassador and work with us on an op-ed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault and domestic violence issues. Heard supported our advocacy on issues of the Gender equality, a concern that has long been at the heart of our mission, at least since Ruth Bader Ginsburg led the ACLU’s women’s rights project.

The charity also said it would never accept donations in exchange for ambassadorships or comments like Heard’s one The Washington Post.

The ACLU has faced criticism for its involvement in the Depp/Heard situation in recent months The Atlantic Writing that it was once a “bastion of free speech and high-spirited ideals” that has become a “caricature of its former self.”

The Depp v. Heard trial continues Thursday and news week will be covering all the breaking stories from the Fairfax County courtroom on our live blog. ACLU supports Amber Heard despite confusion over $3.5 million donation

Rick Schindler

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