Directors condemn honorary awards for Johnny Depp

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Over the past week, two European film festivals have announced they will pay tribute to the American actor Johnny Depp for his artistic contributions to cinema.

On Monday August 9, the San Sebastian Film Festival in northern Spain announced that Depp will receive his Premio Donostia Honorary Award on September 22. still unsuitable. “

This was followed by the announcement of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, which noted that it would honor the actor’s “long career and enduring legacy” later this month, provided that he is an “icon of contemporary cinema”.

These announcements angered women filmmakers and charities against domestic violence.

Doesn’t the abuse matter?

Cristina Andreu, president of the Spanish Association of Women in Cinema and Audiovisual (CIMA), said the San Sebastian Film Festival award was inappropriate as Depp goes on trial for allegedly assaulting his ex-wife , actress Amber Heard.

The presumption of innocence applies, Andreu told the EFE the news agency, “We’re just saying now is not a good time to give him an award before we really know what happened.” Women’s charities in the UK have also voiced objections to the awards.

Also referring to the Spanish award, Erin Mansell, director of public affairs for Solace Women’s Aid, told the BBC that when perpetrators of domestic violence are praised for their professional achievements despite evidence that they have assaulted current or former partners, it sends a deceptive message to survivors that violence does not matter.

“The decision to award this Lifetime Achievement Award is particularly insulting following a year in which domestic violence has escalated under the conditions necessary to cope with a global pandemic.”

Honor cinematic art against the character

In contrast, the director of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, Jose Luis Rebordinos, said EFE that the function of the festival is not to judge the behavior of filmmakers “but to honor those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the art of cinema”.

On Friday, Rebordinos released a lengthy statement reaffirming the festival’s commitment to “tackling inequality”. He said Depp had “not been arrested, charged or convicted of any form of assault or violence against women.”

“First of all, as director and person holding the highest responsibility of the Festival, I would like to reiterate our commitment to fight against inequalities, abuse of power and violence against women”, he declared. “In addition to respecting the commitments acquired in the Charter for the parity and inclusion of women in cinema, the Festival has deliberately encouraged the presence of professionals at the head of its services. Through its September program and throughout the year, it participates in the questioning of society from a critical and feminist point of view. We have also strived to create safe atmospheres for women in workplaces and Festival venues and, if inappropriate behavior has occurred, we have taken firm and swift action, ”added Rebordinos.

He went on to say that during times when “lynching on social networks is rife”, his festival will always uphold two basic principles “which are part of our culture and our body of law: that of the presumption of innocence and the right to reintegration. The festival director continued: “According to the proven data available to us, Johnny Depp has not been arrested, charged or convicted of any form of assault or violence against a woman. We repeat: he has not been indicted by any authority in any jurisdiction, nor found guilty of any form of violence against women.

Forcing Heard’s Hand

Depp, who has been nominated for an Oscar three times and won a Golden Globe among many other awards, has been embroiled in protracted legal battles with Heard, who accused him of domestic violence. The two stars tied the knot in 2015 after meeting on the set of The rum diary in 2009. A year later, in 2016, Heard filed for divorce and charged Depp with domestic violence.

In August 2016, a $ 7 million settlement was reached, which Heard claimed she would donate to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. In 2019, Depp sued Heard and lost a $ 50 million libel lawsuit after writing about his experiences in an article in The Washington Post.

The 58-year-old also lost his libel case against the British tabloid The sun who called him a “woman’s drummer”. A High Court ruled last year that the newspaper article was “essentially true” and that 12 of 14 assaults attributed to him had “taken place”. This was not, however, a criminal case.

Depp, however, recently won a lawsuit that will require Heard to disclose whether she donated her divorce settlement money as she previously claimed. After repeatedly proclaiming his innocence, Depp and his lawyers accused Heard instead of trying to win him financially. If it is revealed that Heard did not keep his promise to donate his settlement, it could be used as evidence against his character in their divorce battle.

Depp’s career has since collapsed, with Warner Bros. removing him from the lineup of the third installment of the Fantastic beasts franchise, written and produced by Harry potter author JK Rowling. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has taken on the role of Grindelwald and the film is slated for release in 2022.

Depp was also removed from the sixth installment of the blockbuster Disney franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean in which he played the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow.

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