Johnny Depp this week bemoaned “cancel culture” while attending a highly regarded Spanish film festival to receive an award, saying he believes it has become pervasive in society and that he himself is a victim of it.

The actor, famous for acclaimed roles such as Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the titular role in “Edward Scissorhands,” took questions from reporters at the San Sebastian International Film Festival on Wednesday about the repercussions he has faced since his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, made public allegations of domestic violence against him.

“It’s a very complex situation, this cancel-culture, or this instant rush to judgment based on essentially what amounts to polluted air,” Depp said, according to The Associated Press. “It’s got so far out of hand that I can assure you, no one is safe. Not one of you, so long as someone is willing to say one thing.”


Depp lost a libel case in the United Kingdom last year against a British newspaper that accused him of domestic violence. At the time, the ruling judge said the allegations were “substantially correct.” A British court ruled against allowing Depp to appeal the ruling in March.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in Virginia over an op-ed Heard wrote about domestic violence for The Washington Post, though the trial has been delayed until April.

“It takes one sentence, then there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled,” Depp said. “It’s not just me that it’s happened to. It’s happened to a lot of people: women, men, children have suffered from various types of unpleasantries that sadly at a certain point they begin to think it’s normal, that it’s them. It’s not.”

Groups came out to criticize the San Sebastian International Film Festival for moving forward with bestowing the Donostia Award, the festival’s most prestigious award, upon Depp in light of the allegations. 

“What is the message that remains when men denounced for sexist violence are applauded, photographed on red carpets, surrounded by unconditional fans?” Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media wrote in a Twitter thread.