We need to stop being so quick to forgive male celebrities

Johnny Depp shouldn’t have been given a platform at Glastonbury

This week has reminded us that men in Hollywood can do anything. Johnny Depp appeared at Glastonbury, only 11 months after settling a domestic abuse case with Amber Heard.

Depp was invited to the festival to introduce a screening of his film, The Libertine. The court case has been settled, but can someone please explain to me why we’re giving men like this a stage, especially somewhere as liberal as Glastonbury?

Right on schedule, it seemed everyone forgot about what had happened. The photo of a woman bruised was a distant memory when thousands flocked to see Captain Jack Sparrow speak at Glastonbury. People praised him for talking about politics and laughed at reports of him partying with Noel Gallagher. It felt like all was forgiven, all was forgotten.

The Depp and Heard case made it’s way back into the news this week, when his formed managers finally backed up Amber’s story. And coincidentally, everyone seems a little more accepting now there’s men verifying her story. But it feels foolish to even hope that there might be a change.

Recent court documents reveal Johnny Depp’s management team were aware that he had assaulted Amber Heard several times during their relationship, yet still helped him throw it all back onto Amber. Depp and his team managed to turn his violence into an attack on the victim, labelling her a gold-digger desperate for fame.

It was not enough that Heard provided multiple statements, photo evidence, and even gave the money from her divorce settlement to charity. She’s been presented as a liar, rather than a brave woman seeking safety and wanting to help other women facing the same situation.

This isn’t an isolated issue. Forgiveness of male celebrities is just one way that sexism and misogyny has reared its ugly head in Hollywood, but possibly the most venomous. We’ve heard too many stories now: the on-going Bill Cosby case, Casey Affleck sexually harassing female producers, then being handed an Oscar by a disgusted Brie Larson who played the victim of rape and abuse in Room. The list goes on.

I would not go and see a Depp film, or see him stand on a stage and speak especially somewhere like Glastonbury. I wouldn’t give him my time.

If this was the real world, men like this would’ve might’ve lost their job, their friends, their reputation – it would be on their record forever. But in Hollywood, we forget it happened a week after coverage.

If we continue to allow men like this to remain powerful figures, we normalise their actions. We minimise the pain and suffering of victims. We say this is all okay as long as your reputation and status is big enough to take the blow, it can’t touch you when you’re famous.