C.A. Goldberg, PLLC on open letter in support of Amber Heard

C.A. Goldberg, PLLC on open letter in support of Amber Heard

C.A. Goldberg, PLLC today joins leaders in the field of women’s rights advocacy and domestic violence and sexual assault awareness in publishing an open letter denouncing the harassment and intimidation of those who report abuse.

The letter comes in the wake of rising misuse of defamation lawsuits to silence survivors of abuse. Heard recently lost a defamation suit  brought by her ex-husband for an op-ed in which she said she was a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

The harassment of Amber Heard and her supporters has had far-reaching consequences, potentially chilling the willingness of individuals to report domestic and sexual abuse.

Disinformation and victim-blaming tropes that circulated on social media during the Depp/Heard trial are now being used against others who have alleged abuse.

C.A. Goldberg, PLLC stands firmly – alongside National Organization for Women, the National Women’s Law Center, Equality Now and others listed below – against the harassment and intimidation of those who report sexual and domestic abuse.

Enough is enough.



An Open Letter in Support of Amber Heard

Five months ago, the verdict in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard deeply concerned many professionals in the fields of intimate partner and sexual violence.

As many, including A.O. Scott for the New York Times have noted, the vilification of Ms. Heard and ongoing online harassment of her and those who have voiced support for her have been unprecedented in both vitriol and scale.

Much of this harassment was 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.

In our opinion, the Depp v. Heard verdict and continued discourse around it indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of intimate partner and sexual violence and how survivors respond to it. The damaging consequences of the spread of this misinformation are incalculable.

We have grave concerns about the rising misuse of defamation suits to threaten and silence survivors.

We condemn the public shaming of Amber Heard and join in support of her. We support the ability of all to report intimate partner and sexual violence free of harassment and intimidation.



Signatories (Alphabetical)


Associazione Iroko Onlus

Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)

Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues

Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

DAWN Democratic Activists for Women Now

Engendered Collective

Enough Is Enough Voter Project

Equal Rights Advocates

Equality Now

Esperanza United (formerly Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network)

Every Voice Coalition

Fearless, Hudson Valley, Inc.

Feminist Majority Foundation

Futures Without Violence

C.A. Goldberg, PLLC, Victims’ Rights Law Firm

Hope’s Door

Know Your IX

LIFT: Living in Freedom Together, Worcester

National Organization for Women Foundation

National Organization for Women, Virginia Chapter

National Women’s Law Center


Réseau International des Mères en Lutte, France

Sakhi for South Asian Women

Sanctuary for Families

Ms. Magazine, Katherine Spillar, Executive Editor

The Asian Feminist

The Safe Center LI


Women’s March Action

Women’s March Foundation

Women’s Equal Justice Project

Experts and Advocates

Renée B. Adams, Professor, University of Oxford

Dr. Esohe Aghatise, Executive Director, Associazione Iroko Onlus

Sara Ahmed, Independent Scholar, Author, “Complaint!”

Kate Amber, PgCert, Founder, End Coercive Control USA

Dr. Adrienne Barnett, Reader in Law, Brunel Law School, Brunel University London

Dr. Nicole Bedera, Sociologist

Nicole Bell, Founder and CEO, LIFT Living in Freedom Together

Antoinette Bonsignore, J.D., Legal and Prosecutorial Analyst, Case Systems Training Review

Program, Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission

Anna Boucher, Associate Professor in Public Policy and Political Science (LSE) and admitted

Solicitor, Supreme Court NSW, Australia

Lindsey Boylan, Women’s Rights Activist

Dr. Stephanie Ann Brandt MD, Faculty and Chairman, Ethics Committee, New York

Psychoanalytic Institute, New York, NY, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell

Medical College, New York, Experienced Forensic Evaluation and Testimony in Family,

Supreme and Federal ( EDNY + SDNY ) Child focused Litigation

Susan J. Brison, Eunice and Julian Cohen Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Values,

Dartmouth College

Laura S Brown, PhD ABPP, psychologist in private practice, past President, APA Division of

Trauma Psychology and Society for The Psychology of Women

Twiss Butler, Feminist

Rachel Camp, Professor from Practice and Co-Director, Georgetown University Domestic

Violence Clinic (title for identification purposes only)

Andrew Thomas Cicchetti, Ph.D. LCSW-R

Nancy Chi Cantalupo, Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School (title and

institution provided for identification purposes only)

Kali Casab, The Voices and Faces Project

Lauren B. Cattaneo, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, George Mason University

Debra Chopp, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Seo-Young Chu Associate Professor Queens College, CUNY

Dr. Christine Marie Cocchiola, DSW, LCSW Coercive Control Advocate, Educator, Researcher

& Survivor

Dr. Elizabeth Dalgarno, SHERA Research Group

Michele Landis Dauber, Frederick I. Richman Professor of Law, Stanford Law School (title and

institution for identification purposes only)

Ella Dawson, Author

Drew Dixon, Producer, Activist

Margaret B. Drew, Associate Professor of Law, UMass Law School

Prof. Dr. Jennifer Drobac

Danielle Pelfrey Duryea

Erin Dwyer-Frazier, Attorney and Domestic Violence Advocate

Heidi Eilers, PhD, BCBA-D, CCTP, Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral, Certified

Clinical Trauma Professional

Deborah Epstein, Agnes Williams Sesquicentennial Professor of Gender, Violence, and Law,

Georgetown Law University Center

Ray Epstein, President/Founder of Student Activists Against Sexual Assault at Temple


Heidi Li Feldman, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Bill Flack, Professor of Psychology, Bucknell University

Professor Michael Flood, Queensland University of Technology

Terry Forliti, Communication Coordinator for Upside Sex Trafficking Initiative, Minneapolis,


Jaclyn Friedman, editor of “Yes Means Yes” and “Believe Me”

Professor Aisha K. Gill, Ph.D. CBE | Professor of Criminology

Professor Leigh Gilmore, Ohio State University, Author, “The #MeToo Effect: What Happens

When We Believe Women”

Lisa Goodman, Ph.D., Professor, Boston College

Leigh Goodmark, Marjorie Cook Professor of Law and Co-Director, Clinical Law Program

Julie Green, Research Assistant, Violence Against Women and Children team, Department of

Social Work, The University of Melbourne

Kit Gruelle, Advocate, Survivor, Film Subject for HBO Documentary Private Violence

Emiliana Guereca, Founder and Executive Director Women’s March Action and Women’s March


Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now

Tirion Havard, Associate Professor, England UK

Judith L. Herman, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry (Part Time), Harvard Medical School

CarlLa Horton, M.P.A., Executive Director, Hope’s Door

Doreen Hunter, Co-Founder, Americas Conference to End Coercive Control (ACECC)

Holly Jacobs, Ph.D, Founder, Board Member, Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

Hans Johnson, President, East Area Progressive Democrats

Dr. Emma Katz, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Liverpool Hope University, UK

Mara Keire Senior Research Fellow, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, UK

Dr. Margaret Kertesz, Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

Amanda Kippert, Editor-in-Chief, DomesticShelters.org, Co-Host, Toxic the Podcast

Judge Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director, Sanctuary for Families

Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier, Executive Director, Fearless! Hudson Valley, Inc.

Dean Laurie Kohn, George Washington Law School

Dr. Ingeborg Kraus, Clinical Psychologist, Psychotraumatologist

Julianna Lee, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Dorchen A. Leidholdt, Esq., Director, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services at Sanctuary

for Families

Edward Lloyd, Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professor Emeritus in Environmental Law, Columbia

University School of Law

Dr Laura E. Ludtke, Independent Scholar

Linda MacDonald, Persons Against Non-State Torture, co-author “Women Unsilenced Our

Refusal To Let Torturer-Traffickers Win”

Catharine A. MacKinnon, Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at Michigan Law, and the

long-term James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (all titles for

identification purposes only)

David Mandel, Executive Director, Safe and Together Institute

Jane Manning, Director, Women’s Equal Justice Project

Joan Meier, National Family Violence Law Center, Professor of Clinical Law, George

Washington University Law School

Carolyn Modeen, Sun Cities West Valley NOW

Amy Myers, Acting Director, Gender Justice Clinic, Washington College of Law (for

identification purposes only)

Natalie Nanasi, Associate Professor, SMU Dedman School of Law, Director, Judge Elmo B.

Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women

Laura Beth Nielsen, JD, PhD, Professor & Chair, Department of Sociology, Northwestern

University, Research Professor, American Bar Foundation, President, Law and Society

Association, Author, “License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech” (titles

for identification purposes only)

Emer O’Toole, PhD, Professor, Concordia University

Natalie Page, #TheCourtSaid Founder, Survivor Family Network Director

David Palumbo-Liu, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Stanford University

Reena Parikh, Director of Civil Rights Clinic, Boston College Law School (title for identification

purposes only)

Jaime Cabeza Pereiro, Professor of Labor and Social Security Law, University of Vigo

Alison Phipps, Professor of Sociology, Newcastle University

Christie Pitts

Nicole Prause, Ph.D., Senior Statistician, University of California, Los Angeles (title for

identification purposes only)

Dr. Charlotte Proudman, Barrister and Academic

Dr. Shivaun Quinlivan, Associate Professor, University of Galway

Professor Tracey Raney, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Canada

Anne K. Ream, Activist and Founder of The Voices and Faces Project

Diane Rosenfeld, Lecturer on Law, Director, Gender Violence Program, Harvard Law School

Jennifer Robinson, Australian human rights lawyer and barrister at Doughty St Chambers, U.K.

counsel to Amber Heard, Author, “How Many More Women?”

Lily Kay Ross, MDiv, PhD Feminism and Ethics Research Fellow, Psymposia

David A. Santacroce, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Jeanne Sarson, co-author, “Women Unsilenced Our Refusal To Let Torturer-Traffickers Win,”

Co-Founder Persons Against Non-State Torture

Purna Sen, PhD Visiting Professor, Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, LMU Special Advisor

to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court

Dr. John Simister, Ph.D., Domestic Violence and Economics Researcher, Senior Lecturer,

Business School Manchester Metropolitan University

Ann Simonton, Founder Director of Media Watch: For Improving image of Women in Media

Rita Smith, National Expert on Violence Against Women, Former Executive Director of the

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

Rachel Louise Snyder, Professor, American University, Author, “No Visible Bruises,”

Evan Stark, Ph.D, MSW, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University

Leslie Morgan Steiner, Advocate, Author, “Crazy Love”

Ruth Silver Taube, Adjunct Professor of Law, Santa Clara University, Legal Services Co-Chair,

South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, Delegate, Santa Clara County’s Human

Trafficking Commission (all titles for identification purposes only)

Gloria Steinem, Writer, Activist

Dr. Jessica Taylor, Chartered Psychologist, CEO of Victim Focus

Alison Turkos, Survivor + Advocate

Vanessa Tyson, Associate Professor of Politics, Scripps College

Robin West, J.D., Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School

Sophia Yen, M.D., Adolescent Medicine Specialist, CEO/Founder of Pandia Health

Amy Ziering, Filmmaker

All titles and institutions provided for identification purposes only for all signatories


If you or your organization would like to join as a signatory of this letter, please email your name, title, and organization (if applicable) to sign@amberopenletter.com from a verifiable email address, or visit amberopenletter.com.


NOW READ: Defamation Law and #MeToo

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