MADRID – Spain's leading group of female filmmakers on Tuesday condemned the San Sebastian film festival’s decision to award Johnny Depp its highest honor, saying it gave the international event a bad name after a British judge ruled last year that allegations of domestic violence against the actor were “substantially correct".
Cristina Andreu, the President of Spain's Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media, said she was “very surprised” by the decision, announced Monday, to award Depp the Donostia Award at the festival’s 69th edition next month. The award is the event's top prize and aims to honor lifetime achievement.
“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'," Andreu told The Associated Press.
The association, which has close links to the San Sebastian festival, was “studying next steps,” she added.
The San Sebastian International Film Festival, held in northern Spain, takes place Sept. 17-25 this year. Depp is expected to receive the award in person on Sept. 22, in what will be his third appearance at the event.
An email request for comment from Depp’s publicist in Los Angeles went unanswered outside office hours.
Last year, Depp lost a libel case against a British newspaper that accused him of domestic violence, with a judge ruling the allegations were “substantially correct.” In March, a British court refused Depp permission to appeal the ruling that he assaulted his former wife, Amber Heard, saying his attempt to overturn the decision had “no real prospect of success.”
Depp also is suing Heard for $50 million in Virginia over a Washington Post op-ed essay that she wrote about domestic violence. The trial in that case was recently delayed until April 2022.