Film Festival Director Defends Decision To Honor Johnny Depp


The internet may have been backing Johnny Depp to the hilt during his highly-publicized personal and legal issues, gaining a reputation for threatening boycotts, signing petitions and getting the 58 year-old trending worldwide on a regular basis as part of the cycle, but the sentiment isn’t shared by everyone.

Earlier this week it was announced that the actor would receive the Donostia Award from the San Sebastian Film Festival, the highest accolade handed out during the celebrations. While some folks were thrilled that the former Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts headliner was generating positive headlines for once, the decision hasn’t been without its detractors.

One cynical but not entirely far-fetched line of speculation is that minor festivals are throwing accolades at Depp to garner more press and mainstream attention, following on from last year’s Cameraimage Festival in Poland, while the Czech Republic’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival is also set to honor Depp later this month.

In an incendiary response to his critics, San Sebastian director José Luis Rebordinos released a statement defending Depp becoming the latest Donostia recipient, which you can read below.

“In the first place, as the director of and person holding the highest responsibility for the Festival, I would like to repeat our commitment to fighting inequality, the abuse of power and violence against women. As well as meeting the commitments acquired in the Charter for Parity and the Inclusion of Women in Cinema, the Festival has consciously promoted the presence of female professionals at the head of its departments.

By means of 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 endeavored to create safe atmospheres for women in the Festival places of work and sites and, in the event of inappropriate behavior, which has occurred, we have taken tough and rapid action. In these present times, when lynching on social media is rife, we will always defend two basic principles which form part of our culture and of our body of laws: that of the presumption of innocence and that of the right to reintegration.

According to the proven data which we have to hand, Johnny Depp has not been arrested, charged nor convicted of any form of assault or violence against any woman. We repeat: he has not been charged by any authority in any jurisdiction, nor convicted of any form of violence against women.”

Domestic abuse charities and several female filmmakers have blasted the decision to shine a spotlight on Johnny Depp, claiming that it sends a terrible message. Minamata director Andrew Levitas slated MGM for burying the film due to the three-time Academy Award nominee’s involvement in the project, while he hasn’t picked up a major onscreen gig for a while as his exile from Hollywood continues.

Despite what the internet may want you to believe, not everyone is fully on board with supporting the fallen star’s rehabilitation and ascension back into the public eye.