June 6, 2023

A new social media campaign using the hashtag #CannesYouNot calls out the Cannes Film Festival for “celebrating abusers for 76 years”.

The campaign was launched online days before the festival by supporters of Amber Heard.

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Her ex-husband Johnny Depp’s new film, ‘Jeanne du Barry’, opens the prestigious festival on Tuesday evening when Cannes kicks off in the south of France.

Eve Barlow – a journalist, activist and close friend of Amber Heard – posted the hashtag on her social platforms. “Cannes seem proud of their history supporting rapists and abusers,” Barlow posted on social media using the French phrase “Plus ça change,” which roughly translates to, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Along with her caption, Barlow posted a series of photos of accused men who have featured prominently in Cannes over the years, including Depp, Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Gerard Depardieu and Luc Besson. “When you support Cannes, you support predators,” Barlow’s post reads.

The #CannesYouNot hashtag is being promoted on pro-Heard social media accounts. A supporter named Rebecca, who Twitter accounts @LeaveHeardAlone, is one of the individuals who helped organize the campaign. Rebecca (who asked Variety to identify her by her first name only, to maintain her anonymity and avoid online harassment) says most of the people involved in running the campaign, including herself, are survivors of sexual abuse. They found the Depp v. Heard trial “heartbreaking and frightening”.

“The Depp v. Heard lawsuit became the vehicle through which the backlash against the #MeToo movement went viral. Hollywood industries seem to be riding that backlash to get back to the status quo,” says Rebecca. “Opening your festival with Johnny Depp? Frankly, it feels like a slap in the face.”

The city of Cannes has banned protests along the Croisette and its surroundings during the Cannes Film Festival. However, organizers of the #CannesYouNot campaign say they cannot prevent online protests. The campaign was designed with Depp in mind, says Rebecca, but the intent is to shed light on “the larger issue of men accused of abuse, protected and isolated by the film industry.”

“In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s turning point, the Cannes Film Festival said they were taking allegations of abuse seriously,” added Rebecca. “We find it hypocritical that the Cannes Film Festival has an anti-discrimination and anti-abuse policy when the festival opens with a film starring Johnny Depp.”

Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux, during the festival’s first press conference on Monday, pushed back criticism that Cannes supports abusers. Fremaux told a roomful of journalists, “If you thought it was a festival for rapists, you wouldn’t listen to me here, you wouldn’t complain that you can’t get tickets to go to screenings.”

Depp’s public persona in recent years has been largely defined by his ongoing legal battle with Heard. He lost a libel case in 2020 regarding her abuse allegations in the UK, then won another in the US that stunned the world in 2022 when the trial was broadcast and scrutinized on TikTok. Cannes’ opening of “Jeanne du Barry” is seen as a major comeback for Depp. And who cares a year: during last year’s Cannes film festival, the lawsuit was underway. Just days after the festival ended, the jury ruled in favor of Depp.

While Depp remains a controversial figure whose star power has dwindled amid his legal battles and troubling allegations against him, the past year has marked a stunning turnaround for the former A-lister who was dropped from mega franchises including “Fantastic Beasts” and “Pirates”. of the Caribbean.” Aside from its grand opening at Cannes, news recently broke that Al Pacino will star in a film Depp is directing, which will be his first directorial work in more than 25 years, and that film will also be presented to buyers at Cannes. just signed a $20 million deal with Dior, Variety reported, which is the biggest men’s perfume pact of all time.

“Jeanne du Barry” is directed by Maiwenn, who recently admitted assaulting her by spitting in the face of a journalist, who reported it to the police earlier this year.

Fremaux also defended the opening of the festival with Depp’s film. “I don’t know anything about Johnny Depp’s image in the US,” he said at the opening press conference. “To tell you the truth, in my life I have only one rule, it is freedom of thought, and freedom of speech and action within a legal framework… If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a movie, or the movie was banned, we wouldn’t be here to talk about it.”

Fremaux added that he was not keeping up with the Depp v. Heard trial. “I’m the last person who can discuss all this,” he said. “If there is one person in this world who has not shown the slightest interest in this highly publicized process, it is me. I don’t know what it’s about. I also care about Johnny Depp as an actor.”

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