Controversy Sparked After Johnny Depp Receives Award

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 09 Aug 2021 17:06
Controversy Sparked After Johnny Depp Receives AwardPA Images

Spain’s San Sebastian International Festival has sparked controversy in their decision to honour actor Johnny Depp with their Donostia award. 

A lifetime achievement award, the Donostia recognises ‘outstanding contributions to the film world’.


However, the film festival could receive backlash in its 69th year, as some see Depp as a controversial figure to collect the award.

While Depp is no doubt one of the world’s most well-known and successful actors, he has gained attention in recent years for less positive reasons. In 2020, Depp made headlines for his libel case against newspaper The Sun, suing the paper over an article which labelled him a ‘wife beater’.

However, after 16 days at trial in July at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, judge Mr Justice Nicol said The Sun had proven that what was in the article was ‘substantially true’.


The judge decided 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence had occurred. Depp’s lawyer spoke of the actor’s intention to appeal the verdict and called the ruling ‘perverse’.

Mark Stephens, a reputation management lawyer, said that the ruling was ‘immensely damaging’. Indeed, the ruling led to Depp being taken off Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts franchise, and it is reported that MGM buried a more recent project of Depp’s, Minamata, due to the controversy surrounding the Hollywood star.

Johnny Depp Court Case - Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA ImagesPoppy Bilderbeck

Subsequently, it is unsurprising that some may view Depp’s award at the San Sebastian International Festival as controversial.


However, San Sebastian still called Depp ‘one of contemporary cinema’s most talented and versatile actors’ when they presented the Donostia Award on Monday, August 9. They did not mention any of the controversy surrounding the star.

The Award was originally introduced by San Sebastian in 1986, its first recipient Gregory Peck. Last year, Viggo Mortensen received the Donostia Award.

This will be Depp’s third visit to the festival and he will receive the award in San Sebastian on Wednesday, September 22.

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