ACLU Corruption Revealed

I have never seen a movie in which Johnny Depp appeared, and I know that he was once married to Amber Heard, an actress otherwise unknown to me, only because of my ceaseless scanning of internet headlines. But it turns out that there is an interesting story behind the Depp-Heard divorce drama–a story that may illustrate widespread corruption among big-buck nonprofits. The Daily Mail reports:

A bitter defamation lawsuit is now brewing between Johnny Depp and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after new documents revealed the non-profit’s staff penned the explosive domestic violence op-ed at the center of the actor’s $50 million libel suit against ex-wife Amber Heard.

A trove of emails seen by suggest Heard, 35, had minimal input in the December 2018 article which was written by an ACLU strategist then submitted to her for approval.

The Daily Mail has the goods. The email traffic shows that Heard’s famous op-ed in the Washington Post was written by employees of the American Civil Liberties Union, led by an ACLU “communications strategist.” Heard had little or nothing to do with it, and her own lawyers–the op-ed was intensively lawyered on both sides–fretted that it could violate her non-disclosure agreement with Depp. So the language was carefully negotiated, but always with the ACLU doing the writing.

Why did the American Civil Liberties Union take such an interest in a Hollywood divorce? I suppose they would say, for reasons of feminism. But it turns out that there was a financial motive as well:

The ACLU is already facing a May 28 deadline to respond to a barrage of subpoenas from Depp’s legal team who want to know if Heard ever honored a public 2016 pledge to donate half her divorce money – some $3.5 million – to the vaunted civil rights group.

Good question! You can write a lot of op-eds for $3.5 million.

This story is one of many that raise questions about prominent nonprofits, about their motives and their purported devotion to the public good. A friend who alerted me to this story writes:

This is a crazy story that hits the tip of an iceberg of corruption in our modern media / political complex.

The deeper story here is the way in which so many of these traditional not-for-profits and institutions have now become fundraising grifts and hatchet / shakedown operations completely unrelated to their original missions and how the WaPo, NYT, Time, etc. are eager to play handmaiden to these schemes. The ACLU, the NAACP/BLM, Sierra Club, etc.

The feminist op-ed in the Washington Post that ostensibly was written by Amber Heard, turns out to have been a collaboration between the ACLU and the Post in which Heard played hardly any role. There is corruption here on all sides, with the possible exception of Johnny Depp’s. About him, I have no opinion. But anyone who thinks that establishment nonprofits like the ACLU are out for the public good is a sucker.

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