Female Filmmakers in Spain Denounce Johnny Depp's San Sebastian Film Festival Award
Johnny Depp's upcoming honor at the San Sebastian Film Festival is receiving backlash from female filmmakers.
Cristina Andreu, the president of Spain's Association of Female Filmmaker and Audiovisual Media, told the Associated Press she was "very surprised" by the festival's decision to honor Depp with its top prize, the Donostia Award, amid his legal troubles with his ex-wife Amber Heard, who has previously accused him of domestic violence. Depp, 58, has adamantly denied all the allegations against him.
"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 AP.
Andreu added the association, which has close ties to the festival, is "studying next steps."
Depp will also be honored by another European film festival, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, which announced its plans to honor the actor this month.
The Donostia Award aims to honor lifetime achievements in film. The San Sebastian Film Festival announced that Depp would be this year's recipient on Monday, describing the actor as "one of contemporary cinema's most talented and versatile actors." Depp is meant to be presented with the award on Wednesday, Sept. 22.
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Depp attended the festival last year to present Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane McGowan. He also attended in 1998 with his Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas director Terry Gilliam.
Recent recipients of the award include Depp's Blow costar Penélope Cruz, Ethan Hawke, Sigourney Weaver, Viggo Mortensen and Dame Judi Dench.
The honor comes amid Depp's ongoing $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard for her 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote about surviving domestic violence.
In their divorce finalization in 2017, the Aquaman actress was granted a $7 million settlement which she said she pledged to the ACLU and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
According to the court papers, filed by Depp and his lawyers in New York and obtained by PEOPLE this past May, the actor and his legal team have been asking both organizations to share how much Heard has donated.
Last week, a New York judge granted the actor permission to determine whether Heard had donated to the ACLU. The organization has been asked to release the documents to confirm.
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Depp previously claimed Heard hadn't donated the money while hoping to overturn the ruling in his "wife-beater" libel case against the U.K.'s The Sun earlier this year. Depp's lawyers argued the judge was swayed by Heard's pledges to charity.
In a July 22 hearing transcript provided to PEOPLE by Heard's attorney Elaine Bredehoft, Bredehoft said her client is still planning to donate one half of her total settlement to the ACLU and the other half to CHLA — and while "it is undetermined what those payment schedules will be," Heard has already made "the first payment toward the pledges" and then some — specifically, "more than a million" each to the ACLU and CHLA.
"We produced the documents from the ACLU on how much she has. She has always said she fully intends to continue to give the full $7 million, but she can't do it yet. She will do it when she can. But she has given a significant amount to both," Bredehoft added of Heard, in part.