On a night when women across Hollywood came together to commemorate a year since the #MeToo movement shook the entertainment industry, Amber Heard shared an open letter from “some of the most painful and difficult times in my life.”
At the Incredible Women gala hosted by Porter Magazine on Tuesday night, Heard read aloud from an open letter she had written for the publication in December of 2016, shortly after filing for divorce from ex-husband Johnny Depp. Heard alleged that the actor had physically and emotionally abused her, which Depp denied. She donated her entire divorce settlement to domestic violence and children’s charities.
Before reading the letter, she told the crowd that she wrote it to her “silent sisters” because “at the time, my voice was alone, it was one that certainly felt alone. And Porter Magazine ran this open letter when it was perhaps most difficult, and for that reason I feel honored to be here sharing this space with so many brave, powerful women, and I just wanted to take a moment to say how much I appreciate it. Also, crazy how relevant these words are today, two and a half years later.”
In the piece, Heard writes, “Let’s start with the truth, the cold hard truth. When a woman comes forward to speak about her suffering, about injustice, instead of aid, respect and support, she will be met with hostility, skepticism and shame. Her motives will be questioned and her truth will be ignored. No matter how terrible or terrifying surviving trauma may be, truth is, it can pale in comparison to what happens after.”
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“It’s no wonder that so many of us feel that we have to keep quiet, or keep our own safety to try to maintain our dignity by quietly enduring. The fear of being ostracized by your community is just about the most terrifying prospect there is,” she continues. “But I’m here to tell you there’s no need to make that terrible trade. It isn’t easy to raise your voice, to stand up for yourself and your truth and to do it alone, but our world is changing. Standing shoulder to shoulder as women, we comprise a vast army of voices and we can no longer accept silence.”
Heard was one of several women who took their heels off while performing on stage, as a statement of solidarity. Minnie Driver, who served as emcee for the evening, started the trend early in the night when she announced “I think I’m going to take my bloody shoes off. We’re all girls except Aaron [Taylor-Johnson, who was in attendance]. I just wore them for the pictures.” Tiffany Haddish and Sam Taylor-Johnson later followed suit, taking off their shoes and placing them on top of the podium as they spoke.
The gala, hosted by Porter editor-in-chief Lucy Yeomans and Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley, celebrated the theme of “One Year Stronger” since the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements began last fall, with women and men reading speeches, poems and declarations from inspirational women throughout history. Charlize Theron, Mahershala Ali, Ellen Pompeo, Anna Kendrick, Alison Brie, Kate Beckinsale, Annie Lennox and Busy Philipps all participated in the performances, which spanned material from Meryl Streep to President Barack Obama. Money raised from the evening went to support Vital Voices, a bipartisan non-profit organization for women’s rights and empowerment.
Philipps, who earlier this week revealed she’d been physically assaulted by James Franco on the set of “Freaks and Geeks” in 1999, read a 2006 essay by Nora Ephron titled, “What I Wish I’d Known.” In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, Philipps also posted on Instagram that she was raped when she was 14 years old.
The Incredible Women gala, held at the Ebell of Los Angeles, marked Porter’s third annual event. Judd Apatow, Leslie Mann, Miranda Kerr and Gabrielle Union were also in attendance.