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Johnny Depp took aim at cancel culture and described it as being “so far out of hand” while discussing his fall from grace in Hollywood during an appearance at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
“It’s a complex situation because it can be seen as an event in history that lasted for however long it lasted for, this cancel culture, or this instant rush to judgment based on, essentially, what amounts to polluted air that’s exhaled,” Depp told the press at the Spanish festival.
The actor was speaking in the wake of his libel case against British tabloid The Sun, which characterized Deep as a “wife-beater” as it related to the treatment of ex-wife Amber Heard. He lost that court case and subsequently did not appear in the third entry in Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts franchise.
The British court ruled in the paper’s favor, with the judge saying there was substantial evidence — including Heard’s restraining order against Depp — to suggest he had been abusive toward her and that she “feared for her life.”
“Do I feel safe myself? Yea, I do. Because it’s important when you’re faced with something as mind-bogglingly bewildering, that sort of things hits you from many angles,” Depp continued. But the actor said cancel culture as a movement is “so far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe. Not one of you. No one out that door. No one is safe, as long as someone is willing to say one sentence.”
San Sebastian honored Depp with its Donostia Award, a lifetime achievement honor that recognizes “outstanding contributions to the film world.” Despite that attention from the European festival, Depp argued that one accusation can lead to career ruin, to “no more ground, the carpet has been pulled. It’s not just me that this has happened to. It’s happened to a lot of people.”
He added, “Nobody out there, we don’t know what anyone is thinking at any moment. But I believe that no one is safe. But if you are armed with the truth, that’s all you need. It doesn’t matter if a judgment, per se, has taken some artistic license.”
Depp also told the festival presser that Hollywood had become too commercial for his cinematic tastes. “From my point of view, as someone who does take part in the creation and collaboration of making cinema, how much more formula do we need from the likes of studios? How much more condescension as an audience do we need with regard to, ‘OK folks, we’re now going to hit you with the whole plot of the story every 20 minutes.’ I think that Hollywood has grotesquely underestimated the audience,” he argued.
Depp added that many families were turning to streaming platforms because they could no longer afford a night out for dinner and a movie at the multiplex: “So I think the Hollywood movie machine has a few design flaws that they’re just realizing. I’m glad I saw them coming, personally.”
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