ACLU believes Elon Musk donated $500,000 to Org on behalf of Amber Heard

  • Amber Heard has pledged to donate $3.5 million from her $7 million divorce settlement with Johnny Depp to the ACLU.
  • ACLU COO and General Counsel Terence Dougherty testified Thursday that they only received $1.3 million.
  • Of that amount, they believe $500,000 came from Elon Musk, who Heard dated after Depp.

When Johnny Depp and Amber Heard reached a settlement of their divorce in 2016, Heard announced that she would donate her entire $7 million payout to charity. She said the money would be split between two organizations: the ACLU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

But the ACLU says they never received the full $3.5 million they were promised, and believes about half of the donations they received in Heard’s name actually came from ‘Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla who Heard started dating after his split with Depp.

Terence Dougherty, general counsel and chief operating officer of the ACLU, spoke about Heard’s donations to the nonprofit in a pre-recorded deposition that aired during Depp’s libel lawsuit against Heard on Thursday.

Depp accused Heard of ruining her reputation and career by insinuating she had been the victim of domestic violence in a 2018 Washington Post 0p-ed. Heard denied Depp’s defamation allegations and said he physically assaulted her at several times before and during their marriage.

Johnny Depp

Actor Johnny Depp attends his libel trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, in Fairfax, Virginia on April 28, 2022.

Michael Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS


Dougherty says the ACLU received four donations in Heard’s name, totaling $1.3 million.

Only one of those payments came directly from Heard: a payment of $350,000, in August 2016.

Other payments included a $100,000 check from Johnny Depp; $500,000 from a Vanguard donor-advised fund; and $350,000 from a Fidelity Donor Advised Fund.

Dougherty says the ACLU believes Vanguard’s $500,000 payment came from a fund set up by Elon Musk.

Musk had emailed Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s executive director, saying Heard would donate the total of $3.5 million over 10 years, Dougherty said.

“Amber, I outlined your plan to donate $3.5 billion to the ACLU over the next 10 years because you truly believe what you were doing,” Musk wrote in an email sent. in Romero in August 2016.

But Heard never donated the rest of the money, and she never signed a pledge form that ACLU staffers prepared for her, according to Dougherty.

Heard asked the ACLU not to issue a press release about his $3.5 million pledge, Dougherty said.

In 2019, when the ACLU was waiting for the next installment. He never came.

“We contacted Heard from 2019 for her next donation installment and learned that she was struggling financially,” Dougherty said.

Insider reached out to Musk to comment on the donation on Heard’s behalf on Thursday, but did not immediately receive a response. A representative for Heard did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

A few months after Depp and Heard split in May 2016, rumors began circulating about her relationship with Musk.

In text messages presented to court on Wednesday, Heard admitted to her former agent that she never really liked Musk, when reports of their breakup first hit the headlines in August 2017.

In December 2018, the same day Heard’s op-ed was published in The Washington Post, Heard announcement she had served as the ACLU’s ambassador on women’s rights. ACLU lawyers — including David Cole, the national legal director who has appeared before the Supreme Court numerous times — had helped draft the editorial, Dougherty said.

After Twitter announced on Monday that it had reached a deal with Elon Musk to buy the platform for $44 billion, the ACLU described the billionaire as “one of our biggest supporters” but said people should s worry about the potential impact of their property.

“We should be concerned that a powerful central player, whether it’s a government or a wealthy individual – even if it’s a member of the ACLU – has so many control over the limits of our political speech online,” Romero said in a statement.

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