Constance Wu and several women’s rights groups, activists and scholars have signed an open letter condemning the “public shaming” Amber Heard has faced following the widely televised Depp v. Heard trial.
Several groups and individuals published an open letter together on Wednesday rallying behind Heard, 36, as the “Aquaman” actor continues to face “vilification,” “ongoing online harassment” and “unprecedented” vitriol after the trial’s conlusion
On June 1, the jury awarded Heard’s ex-husband Johnny Depp, 59, $10.3 million in damages. Depp claimed that he was defamed by Heard in her 2018 op-ed published by The Washington Post; although Depp’s name is not mentioned in her piece, his legal team claimed that there was “a clear implication that Mr. Depp is a domestic abuser.”
The recently published open letter noted that most of the harassment Heard has been facing is “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 open letter added.
Nearly four dozen women’s rights groups, domestic violence experts and survivors’ advocates signed the open letter, including Sakhi for South Asian Women, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, the National Women’s Law Center and media company The Mary Sue.
The groups, experts and advocates who signed the open letter pointed out that the reactions on social media during and after the trial are harmful to the victims of domestic abuse.
“They see the environment that this has created, and they feel even less safe than before to come forward and speak out about the abuse they suffered,” Elizabeth Tang, the senior counsel for education and workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, told NBC News.
Tang added that abusers may use defamation suits against their victims as a way to silence them or as an act of retaliation if their victims speak up for themselves.
In addition to Wu, other individuals who signed the open letter include Seo-Young Chu, an associate professor at Queens College; Sophia Yen, the CEO and founder of Pandia Health; and Farrah Khan, the CEO of Possibility Seeds.