A leading domestic abuse charity has criticised two major European film festivals for deciding to honour Johnny Depp at their forthcoming events.
Depp, who lost a libel case last year over an article that called him a “wife beater”, will be feted at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival later this month.
The US actor and director is also due to receive the San Sebastian Film Festival’s Donostia award in September.
Solace Women’s Aid said such awards were “misleading” and “insulting”.
The San Sebastian Film Festival in northern Spain announced on Monday that Depp would receive its “highest honorary award” on 22 September.
It hailed Depp as “one of contemporary cinema’s most talented and versatile actors” with a reputation for playing “almost always misfits”.
On Tuesday, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic said it would pay its own tribute to the actor’s “extensive career and lasting legacy”.
It described him as a “multifaceted artist” and “icon of the contemporary cinema” whom it was “thrilled” to honour at the festival, which runs from 20 to 28 August.
Depp denied assaulting his ex-wife Amber Heard, but a High Court judge last year ruled that The Sun newspaper’s article was “substantially true”. It was not a criminal trial.
In her response to the Spanish festival’s announcement, Solace’s public affairs manager Erin Mansell said: “When perpetrators of domestic abuse are lauded for their professional achievements in spite of evidence they have assaulted current or former partners, it sends a misleading message to survivors that the abuse doesn’t matter.
“The decision to award this lifetime achievement prize is particularly insulting in the wake of a year where domestic abuse spiralled under conditions needed to address a global pandemic.”
Respect, which runs a charity helpline for domestic abuse perpetrators, said in June it had seen a 27% rise in the number of calls it had received since the first UK lockdown.
Depp’s career has suffered since his unsuccessful attempt to sue The Sun. The 58-year-old was replaced in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and another film, a biopic entitled Minamata, has yet to receive a US release.
In a letter last month, reprinted in Deadline, Minamata director Andrew Levitas accused the MGM studio of being “concerned… the personal issues of an actor in the film could reflect negatively upon them”.
However, Minamata, in which Depp plays the renowned photojournalist W Eugene Smith, will be released in UK cinemas this week by Vertigo Releasing.
Another of Depp’s films, crime thriller City of Lies, received a minimal release this year, 30 months after having its original release postponed.
Depp continued to be employed by Christian Dior after the court ruling, appearing in advertising campaigns for its Sauvage cologne.
He also maintains a devoted and passionate fanbase that posts regularly on social media using the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp.
One Twitter user said the festival accolades showed “producers and directors across Europe would be more than happy to work with Johnny in the near future”.
Many of his supporters are calling for a boycott of the third Fantastic Beasts film and of the 2022 Aquaman sequel, in which Heard is set to appear.