The ACLU, Amber Heard’s ex-boyfriend Elon Musk, may have donated in part.
After promising to donate half of her $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union in 2016, Amber Heard personally awarded and arranged for others to donate less than half of it, An official with the organization said Thursday.
Terence Dougherty, executive director of the ACLU, said donation commitments often don’t come at the same time, and Heard has never agreed on a payment schedule.
Dougherty said: “We contacted Heard starting in 2019 for her next gift delivery and we learned that she was struggling financially.
Dougherty said Heard donated $350,000 to the ACLU “very soon” after August 2016, when she said in a statement that she would donate half of the divorce settlement money to the ACLU and the other half to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. At some point, her ex-husband Johnny Depp donated $100,000 on her behalf to the ACLU. And another $500,000 and $350,000 were donated on Heard’s behalf, bringing the total donation to $1.3 million of the $3.5 million promised. Dougherty said he believes the $500,000 donation came from a foundation set up by Elon Musk, Heard’s ex-boyfriend, but that was “not conclusive,” he said.
Heard’s scrutiny comes as the trial is underway in the $50 million defamation lawsuit Depp has filed against her. Depp alleged that a 2018 op-ed in which Heard described himself as a victim of domestic violence falsely implied that he had abused her, costing him roles in the film and other opportunities. Lawyers for Heard have said that she was physically and sexually abused by Depp, often when he was drinking or using drugs, and that her right to free speech belonged to freedom of speech.
While preparing for the current defamation trial, Depp sued the ACLU to determine whether Heard donated the money she pledged. In August 2021, a Judge in New York allowed Depp and his legal team to determine that.
The choice question stemmed from Heard’s relationship with the ACLU, which appointed her ambassador in October 2018. The team helped Heard write and publish the article in the Washington Post, and emails showed that the publication had the same meaning when her film Aquaman was released.
Dougherty’s testimony initially mentioned Heard’s relationship with Depp, but all mention was cut to protect Heard from violating the nondisclosure agreement she signed with Depp as part of finalizing their divorce.
“The language that ends in the final section is very different from the original language that Robin [Shulman, an ACLU communications strategist] put into editing after talking to Amber about her personal experiences,” Dougherty said. His December takedown, which took place in court on Thursday, made it clear that the final language was different because “it does not directly refer to Ms. Heard’s relationship with Johnny Depp.”