Johnny Depp talks ‘cancel culture’ amid legal battles, limited work, distance from Disney

Whether you’re a huge fan of Johnny Depp or not, there’s no doubt you’ve probably seen his name in the headlines over the last many months.

His ex-wife has accused Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise star of domestic abuse, and the two are locked in a multi-million dollar legal battle that seems to have no end in sight. Because the court case has yet to be ruled upon, Depp has also yet to be found guilty of any wrongdoing.

But this seems to have little bearing on the desire of many who have already drawn their own conclusions. Not only has work slowed for the Academy Award-winning actor, but studios like Disney have distanced themselves from the star completely.

The sixth installment of the franchise is currently in the works, but one main component is missing: Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. He was not invited back to play any role in the 6th movie, which we now know will not be a sequel.

There’s even a new female lead: Margot Robbie.

Credit: What’s On Disney Plus

All of this is apparently taking its toll on the star who went on record today during a press conference ahead of receiving the honorary Donostia Award at this year’s San Sebastian Film Festival, saying that he is a victim of the “cancel culture” movement.


“It’s so far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe. Not one of you,” Depp said to a group of journalists who had gathered for the event.

Cancel culture, according to, “refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.”

Despite his not being found guilty yet of the actions of which his ex-wife Amber Heard has accused him, many in the industry have already rendered their verdicts. Depp has brought suit against some for defamation of character, including The Sun tabloid. He lost against the tabloid, which has done everything but improve the public’s perception of Depp.

“It takes one sentence and there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled,” Depp explained at today’s press conference. “It’s not just me that this has happened to, it’s happened to a lot of people.”

Fans of Depp have even shamed Disney for participating in such a movement without a guilty verdict, vowing to boycott Pirates of the Caribbean 6 and any further installments in the franchise, so long as Depp is being unfairly cast out, in their opinions.


A petition to bring Depp back to the Pirates franchise is at, and as of this morning, the petition had more than 652,000 signatures–signatures of fans who feel that Disney shouldn’t have written off Depp, whether formally or informally, and who feel that the actor should be reinstated.

Disney continues to profit from Depp’s likeness. Audio-animatronic versions of Captain Jack Sparrow inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions have not been removed or replaced, and they are spitting images of Mr. Depp.

Films from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise have not been removed from Disney+. In fact, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will be added to the streaming platform in only a few days.

Added, not taken away.

It would seem to some that though Disney seems to have sidelined Depp, they refuse to make a clean break in every way (attractions, past films, etc.) because they continue to profit from his look, his development of the character of Captain Jack Sparrow and from his knack for catapulting the franchise into one that earned Disney billions.

Yes, billions. With a “b.”

“This type of thing has happened to women, men,” Depp said today. “Children have suffered from various types of unpleasantries. Sadly at a certain point, they begin to think that it’s normal. Or that it’s them. When it’s not.”


About Becky Burkett

I'm a Lone Star State native whose idea of joy includes any combination of the following: cold weather, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 2 boys, my 2 girls, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history and being at Disney World. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birds at the Enchanted Tiki Room, scoring the 999,999 at Buzz's Space Ranger Spin, or trying for the highest score in the toybox at Toy Story Mania! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!