Johnny Depp has warned that ‘no one is safe’ from cancel culture as he accepted an award at a film festival in Spain.
The actor, who was honoured with a top career award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival on Wednesday, told reporters that this sort of ostracism has “got so far out of hand”.
Last year, a British judge found the allegations to be “substantially correct” after Depp tried to sue Associated Newspapers, the owner of The Sun, which had published an article labelling him a “wife-beater”.
Responding to questions from reporters, the 58-year-old actor said: “It’s a very complex situation, this cancel culture, or this instant rush to judgment based on essentially what amounts to polluted air.
“It’s got so far out of hand that I can assure you, no one is safe. Not one of you, so long as someone is willing to say one thing.”
Without mentioning Heard or the legal action, he added: “It takes one sentence, then there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled.”
“It’s not just me that it’s happened to. It’s happened to a lot of people: women, men, children have suffered from various types of unpleasantries that sadly at a certain point they begin to think it’s normal, that it’s them. It’s not,” he said.
The controversy emerged despite the festival’s request for media questions to be constrained to Depp’s career.
Female filmmakers and other groups had criticised the festival organiser’s decision to distinguish Depp with the Donostia Award, the event’s highest honour.
Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media, which has close links to the festival, said that awards should not be granted based only on professional or artistic achievements.
“What is the message that remains when men denounced for sexist violence are applauded, photographed on red carpets, surrounded by unconditional fans?” the association, known as CIMA, wrote in a Twitter thread in which it acknowledged the “complexity” of the issue.
A news conference moderator at the festival blocked a question from a reporter about CIMA’s criticism.
After losing last year’s libel case in March, a British court refused Depp permission to appeal the ruling that he assaulted Heard, saying his attempt to overturn the decision had “no real prospect of success”.
Depp is also 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.