Leading female filmmakers in Spain on Tuesday condemned the San Sebastian Film Festival’s decision to award Johnny Depp the highest award, saying the international program “got a bad name” after a British judge ruled last year that domestic violence allegations against the actor were “substantial.”

Christina Andrew, president of the Spanish Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media, said she was “surprised” by Monday’s decision to award the Depp Donostia Award at next month’s 69th edition. The award aims to honor the event’s highest prize and lifetime achievement.

“It speaks very badly about the festival and its leadership and sends a terrible message to the public: ‘It doesn’t matter if you are an abuser as long as you are a good actor,’ Andrew told the Associated Press.

The association, which has close ties to the San Sebastian festival, is “studying the next steps,” she said.

The San Sebastian International Film Festival takes place in northern Spain from September 17-25 this year. Johnny Depp is expected to receive the award in person on September 22, his third appearance at the event.

An email request for comment from a Depp publicist in Los Angeles was not answered during office hours.

Last year, Johnny Depp lost a defamation suit against a British newspaper alleging domestic violence, and the judge ruled that the allegations were “substantially correct.” In March, a British court denied Depp permission to appeal the verdict in the attack on his ex-wife, Amber Herd, saying his attempt to overturn the decision was “not a real possibility”.

Depp also sued for $ 50 million in Virginia over her Washington Post Op-Ed article on domestic violence. The trial in that case was recently adjourned until April 2022.

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