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Johnny Depp can’t seem to get away from Amber Heard. That proved true at a press conference at the 2021 San Sebastian Film Festival. The controversial Pirates of the Caribbean star was there to receive a prestigious Donostia career award. A recording of Heard’s voice interrupted the event. 

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp have a rocky history 

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp on a red carpet
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp | Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Art of Elysium

Depp and Aquaman co-star Heard met on the set of Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary in 2009. By 2015 Amber Heard and Johnny Depp were married, and by 2016 the relationship devolved to domestic violence allegations by Heard. 

The marriage ended in 2017 with a $7 million settlement, which People reported that Heard donated to a children’s hospital. But it didn’t end there. In 2018, Heard published an essay in the Washington Post titled I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.

Without naming her ex-husband, she claimed a history of abuse. As a result, the war of words between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp resumed. UK publication The Sun subsequently referred to Depp as a “wife-beater.” 

Depp sued the publication, lost, and was consequently asked to resign from Fantastic Beasts 3. In retaliation, zealous Depp fans demanded that Aquaman 2: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom fire Heard. She remains on the cast. 

Depp also sued Heard directly, and the case is ongoing. 

Controversy erupted over Johnny Depp’s Donostia Award at San Sebastian 2021

Not everyone reacted well to the news that the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star would receive San Sebastian’s highest honor. Per Variety, female filmmakers from Spain spoke out with an official statement. They’re unhappy because, despite the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp domestic violence issues, the festival is honoring Depp. 

“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,’” Cristina Andreu told The Associated Press. Andreus is president of Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media. 

Unconcerned by the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp controversy, the festival pushed back vigorously, and obviously, proceeded with plans to present the award. 

At the press conference preceding the presentation of the award, Heard’s voice spoke out among the crowd. Only she wasn’t actually there. 

An undisclosed source played the recording 


Johnny Depp Says Hollywood is Boycotting Him

The recording interrupted the Depp press conference on September 22, 2021. She made a statement outside the High Court in London in July 2020, pursuant to Depp’s libel case against The Sun. 

“It has been incredibly painful to relive the break-up of my relationship, to have my motives, my truth questioned and the most traumatic and intimate details of my life with Johnny shared in court and broadcast to the entire world,” the recording said.

According to ScreenDaily, the conference continued. But a representative of The Association of Female Filmmakers tried to ask how Depp felt about their objection to the honor. The event’s moderator blocked the question.  

Likewise, Marion Cotillard also received a Donostia Award. However, she spoke about meaningful changes in the industry as a result of the #MeToo movement and said there are “more roles for women”.

Depp, on the other hand, said that “no one is safe” from cancel culture and criticized Hollywood in general. He previously accused the industry of “boycotting” him over the Amber Heard allegations. 

To sum up, the issue of Amber Heard won’t be silenced. 

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788.