The Spanish film festival, San Sebastián, has defended its decision to announce Johnny Depp as the recipient of the festival’s highest honour – the Donostia Award.
Joining the likes of Dennis Hopper, Michael Caine, Robert De Niro and Viggo Mortensen, who have each been awarded the prize in the past, Depp’s inclusion in the festival has been met with widespread backlash due to his ongoing legal dispute with his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Due to award Depp with the Donostia Award later this month, the organisers of the San Sebastián film festival have been forced to give a statement on their decision due to significant public outcry. As Cristina Andreu, president of Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers told the Associated Press, “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'”.
This was met with a statement from the festival’s director José Luis Rebordinos that read: “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”.
Continuing, the statement added, “We repeat: he has not been charged by any authority in any jurisdiction, nor convicted of any form of violence against women”.
Whilst being strongly opposed to “inequality, the abuse of power and violence against women,” the statement also addressed that, “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”.
In addition to the Donostia Award, Depp is also set to be honoured at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic later this summer.
Take a look at the full statement posted to the Film Festival’s Instagram, below.