The #CannesYouNot hashtag was created ahead of the launch of the 76th edition of the festival, and journalist and activist Eve Barlow called for the public to tell Cannes to “stop supporting rapists.”
In a series of posts shared on Instagram, Barlow, who is also a friend of Amber Heard, wrote: “If you support Cannes you support predators” and “Jean du Barry [is] representing abusers at Cannes.”
One slide of the social media post featured Depp alongside pictures of men with allegations made against them, including Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Gerard Depardieu, and Luc Besson.
Barlow also wrote: “Cannes seem proud of their history supporting rapists and abusers. Plus ça change. #CannesYouNot”
The post, which was also shared on Twitter, prompted Heard’s supporters to criticise Cannes for including Depp’s film at the festival, with many speaking out against the festival and the actor using the hashtag.
Yahoo has reached out to the Cannes Film Festival for comment.
Read more: Cannes Juror Brie Larson Unsure She’ll See Johnny Depp Movie: ‘I Don’t Know How I’ll Feel About It’ (Variety, 4 min read)
Depp and Heard’s marriage, divorce and the allegations made by both actors have been the focus of much public scrutiny over the years.
In 2018, Depp sued News Group Newspapers for libel after The Sun published an article calling him a “wife beater”, he lost the case in 2020.
In February 2019, Depp sued Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed piece she had written for The Washington Post in which she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse.
Heard countersued Depp in 2020, and the case went to trial in 2022. In June that year a jury found that Heard had defamed Depp in the article.
Cannes has banned people from protesting at the event, but the use of the CannesYouNot hashtag is seen as an opportunity for online protest.
Per Variety, the festival’s chief Thierry Fremaux said in a press conference of selecting Jeanne du Barry as the opening film: “I don’t know about the image of Johnny Depp in the U.S. To tell you the truth, in my life, I only have one rule, it’s the freedom of thinking, and the freedom of speech and acting within a legal framework.
“If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a film, or the film was banned we wouldn’t be here talking about it. So we saw Maiwenn’s film and it could have been in competition. She would have been the eighth female director.
“This [controversy] came up once the film was announced at Cannes because everybody knew Johnny had made a film in France… I don’t know why she chose him but it’s a question you should ask Maiwenn.”
Following the conference, Barlow said on Twitter: “Weak response, putting the onus on the attendants of the film festival, rather than taking responsibility as the organiser, as if denying that the institution of the Cannes Film Fest is one that people working in film have much choice over whether to recognise.”
Watch: Amber Heard says she doesn't "blame the jury" in Depp v Heard trial.
This is not the first time that Cannes has come under scrutiny for showing Depp’s film at the event, as Portrait of a Lady on Fire actor Adèle Haenel wrote an open letter in Telerama about the French film industry’s support of men who have had allegations made against them.
Hanael, who retired from the business after Polanski won the award for Best Director at the Cesar Awards in 2020, referenced Cannes in her open letter as she said: “It unnerves them and disturbs them that victims make too much noise; they would prefer it if we continued to disappear and die in silence.
“They’re ready to do anything to defend their rapist chiefs, those who are so rich that they believe they belong to a superior species, those who make a show of this superiority by… objectifying women and subordinates.”