With Johnny Depp set to receive a lifetime achievement award at Wednesday’s San Sebastian Film Festival, Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers has called out the festival for honoring the controversial actor.
The Associated Press reports the group said San Sebastian’s decision reflects poorly on the international event in light of Amber Heard’s accusations of domestic violence against her then-husband Depp.
“This speaks very badly of the festival and its leadership and transmits a terrible message to the public: ‘It doesn’t matter if you are an abuser as long as you are a good actor’,” Cristina Andreu, the President of Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media, told the AP.
On Monday, San Sebastian announced that Depp will be presented with the Donostia Award, the festival’s highest honorary award, at the 69th edition of the festival. Previous winners include Penelope Cruz, Viggo Mortensen, and Sigourney Weaver.
The news comes months after Johnny Depp was denied appeal in his libel case against the publisher of tabloid The Sun. Depp took News Group Newspapers to court after the tabloid called him a “wife beater” when reporting on allegations of domestic abuse, which were leveled at him by his then-wife Amber Heard. A judge ruled that labeling him a “wife beater” was fair because the accusation was “substantially true.” Depp’s lawyer Joelle Rich told Deadline she “seriously questioned” the court’s decision, and Depp will now focus on his defamation trial in the U.S. against Heard next year.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian’s festival director José Luis Rebordinos told the Hollywood Reporter that “the role of a film festival is not to judge the conduct of members of the film industry. The role of a film festival is to select the most relevant and interesting films of the year and to extend recognition to those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the art of film.”