Actor Johnny Depp returned to the acclaimed Cannes Film Festival in France today. “Jeanne Du Barry”, in which Depp stars, received a seven minute standing ovation at the festival’s opening. The appearance marks Depp’s first public engagement since his highly publicized 2022 legal battle with ex-girlfriend Amber Heard. Depp sued Heard for defamation over a Washington Post op-ed in which the actress alleged that Depp physically and emotionally abused her. Depp won the case, but lost a similar lawsuit in the U.K., which found Heard’s domestic abuse claims to be true.
Throughout the lengthy court case, many argued that TikTok clips manipulated courtroom footage and swayed public opinion in support of Depp. The actor has appeared in a number of acclaimed and beloved films, including the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and “Edward Scissorhands.” Many felt that his role in so many cult favorite films is what turned the public eye in his favor. Given that Heard’s claims were believed in the U.K. court, some feel that Depp should have lost the U.S. trial. Others agreed that with the evidence presented, it appeared that Depp and Heard were in a mutually abusive relationship.
Today, countless actors in attendance at Cannes are wary of Depp’s attendance, and what it could mean for women in the industry at large.
A reporter asked actress Brie Larson a question about Depp’s attendance at Cannes in a press conference. Larson responded with “”You’re asking me that? I’m sorry, I don’t understand the correlation or why me specifically.” The actress was notably a major organizer within the Time’s Up movement, which gave way to women in entertainment coming forward with allegations of sexual assault from filmmakers and working to make the industry a safer place.
Brie Larson was surprised to be asked about Johnny Depp's opening film: "You’re asking me that? I’m sorry, I don’t understand the correlation or why me specifically." https://t.co/5Ec2S23051 #Cannes pic.twitter.com/QPfO1Yb4qS
— Variety (@Variety) May 16, 2023
The reporter was criticized for asking Larson this question, as she had no part in Depp v. Heard and maintains a private life.
They tried to set Brie Larson up twice and she didn’t take the bait either time. Nice to see these are the caliber of journalists that get access to Cannes. pic.twitter.com/OcFy3hb26A
— Jeff Zhang 张佶润 (@strangeharbors) May 16, 2023
Despite the perceived backlash that women in film are meeting Depp with, the actor appeared emotional when his film received a seven minute standing ovation.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) May 16, 2023
Social Media Reactions
From viewers, #CannesYouNot is trending in support of Amber Heard. While some believe that Depp was the sole guilty party and hence should not have a place at Cannes, others argue that neither of them deserve a spot in these highly esteemed circles given their respective histories.
Amber Heard supporters are launching the #CannesYouNot campaign ahead of Johnny Depp walking the red carpet: “To open your festival with Johnny Depp? To be frank, it feels like a slap in the face." https://t.co/zMqjQsBgiX
— Variety (@Variety) May 16, 2023
Others simply applauded Depp’s success after the contentious trial.
Very happy for him in his success!
— jojo07 (@incogneeeeto) May 16, 2023
Meanwhile, others reflected on the potential impact that Depp’s return to the limelight could have on future cases. Domestic abuse cases are nothing new to Hollywood, but in the post-Me Too and Time’s Up era, they are now something to watch.
Supporting domestic violence victims in the entertainment industry is crucial. Let's stand together and show our support for #JohnnyDepp as they return to acting after their traumatic experience. Trauma can cause high levels of emotional, psychological, and physical distress that… pic.twitter.com/uUAaBqGLYY
— Mindy Davies (@MindyDavies_) May 16, 2023
Depp is yet to issue comment about his experience at Cannes.