Ahead of being honored by his peers at the San Sebastián International Film Festival, Johnny Depp warned about the dangers of cancel culture, saying, “No one is safe.”
As Variety reports, Depp’s comments came during a press conference before he received the Donostia Award, which is given out each year to an assortment of filmmakers and performers (previous winners include Denzel Washington, Sigourney Weaver, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Ian McKellen). When asked for his thoughts on cancel culture and social media’s role in it, Depp called it a “complex situation” and described it as “this instant rush to judgment based on essentially what amounts to polluted air that is exhaled.”
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He continued, “It’s so far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe. Not one of you. Not one of you… as long as someone is willing to say one sentence. It takes just one sentence and there is no more ground. The carpet has been pulled.”
Depp has been embroiled in a scandal related to allegations of abuse leveled by his ex-wife Amber Heard. Last November, Depp lost a libel suit against the U.K. tabloid The Sun, which referred to him as a “wife-beater” in an article about him and Heard. The judge overseeing the case found that the paper’s claims that Depp was abusive toward Heard were “substantially true.”
After the ruling, Depp resigned — at the urging of Warner Bros. — from his role in the Fantastic Beasts series, while the U.S. release of his recent film Minamata was put on hold (it was released in theaters elsewhere in the world). Nevertheless, Depp continues to do steady work for the animated kids show Puffins and his acceptance of the Donostia Award was not derailed by protest.
At the press conference before he was celebrated for being one of “contemporary cinema’s most talented and versatile actors,” Depp said: “It’s not just me this has happened to. It’s happened to a lot of people. This type of thing has happened to women, men, and children who have suffered from various types of unpleasantries and they sadly, at a certain point, begin to think that it’s normal…. I believe that if you are armed with the truth, then that’s all you need. It doesn’t matter if a judgment…has taken some artistic license.”
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