Well, That Was Quick

Matthew G. Saroff
3 min readMay 2, 2022

A week ago, I declared that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were on my list of of they who must not be named.

Depp was suing Heard for defamation for an OP/ED that she published in the Washington Post in which she alleged, without naming her ex-husband, that he had abused her.

I know that there is a lot of coverage, but, like many post-marital disputes, I felt that it was not my place to ruminate on who was telling the truth.

That was before I found out that the ACLU took part in ghost-writing her article, so I cannot just ignore this now, as would be my wont.

That takes this from a private dispute that is not my purview into an example of how what was once the preeminent civil rights organization in the United States has, to paraphrase William Jennings Bryan, “Crucified itself on a cross of bullsh%$.”

What the F%$# were they thinking?

The ACLU helped Amber Heard draft the Washington Post article accusing Johnny Depp of abuse after the organization was promised a $3.5m donation from her divorce — though at least $500,000 of it eventually came from a fund connected to Tesla founder Elon Musk, jurors in the Depp-Heard defamation trial heard on Thursday.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s general counsel, Terence Dougherty, testified that the organization decided to propose Heard as an ambassador for the group after Heard pledged the sizeable donation over 10 years.

Ah, I see, it’s all about the Benjamins. In today’s ACLU, the careerists have replaced the idealists, and they want the money for their and their friend’s jobs.


As part of the relationship the ACLU forged with Heard, the group later agreed to draft the 2018 Washington Post article in which Heard said she was “a public figure representing domestic abuse” that lies at the center of Depp’s libel claim against his ex-wife.

“Based on my review of higher drafts of the op-ed, I knew that it was referring to Johnny Depp and her marriage,” Dougherty said during the 2021 video deposition shown to the jury.

The ACLU’s communications team sought to include Heard’s “fire and rage” on the subject, but internal ACLU emails, including drafts and changes to the article, reflect the organization’s concerns that references to domestic abuse could violate the terms of the non-disclosure agreement in her divorce.


The ACLU and Heard, Dougherty added, were keen to have the article published in the week the film Aquaman was released to capitalize on her role in it.

I get that a lot of organizations will sometimes place sucking up to big donors ahead of their stated purpose, but this is the f%$#ing ACLU.

That they compromised themselves for the sake of a few bucks is a travesty.

H/T Daniel “Trouble” Saroff.