A group of female filmmakers from Spain, as well as domestic abuse charities, are speaking out against an award show's decision to honor actor Johnny Depp, who faces allegations of domestic abuse.
The San Sebastian Film Festival in northern Spain announced on Monday that it would be awarding Depp with a lifetime achievement award on Sept. 22. Then, on Tuesday, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic revealed that it would also be paying tribute to the actor, the BBC reported. The announcements have been met with widespread backlash, with many taking issue over Depp being celebrated despite accusations of assaulting his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Commenting on the San Sebastian award, Cristina Andreu, who is the president of Spain's Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media, told the Associated Press that the decision came as a surprise.
"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 said.
Sophie Francis-Cansfield, campaigns and policy manager at Women's Aid, meanwhile said that the decision to present an award to Depp sends a message to the public that abuse is okay.
"When a perpetrator is celebrated, allowing them to continue to garner success and public approval suggests that abuse is acceptable and does not matter," she said, according to the BBC. "Survivors must be believed and supported. It is crucial that survivors know that their experiences will be taken seriously and that abuse will not be tolerated by anyone."
Solace Women's Aid public affairs manager Erin Mansell echoed her sentiments.
"When perpetrators of domestic abuse are lauded for their professional achievements in spite of evidence they have assaulted current or former partners, it sends a misleading message to survivors that the abuse doesn't matter," she said. "The decision to award this lifetime achievement prize is particularly insulting in the wake of a year where domestic abuse spiraled under conditions needed to address a global pandemic."
Last year Depp lost a libel case against a British newspaper that had accused him of domestic violence. A judge ruled that the allegations were "substantially correct." Additionally, Depp is also suing Heard for $50 million after she wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post on domestic violence.
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