“When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” said actor Johnny Depp to a drive-in movie theater crowd Thursday night in Glastonbury, England.
“I think he needs help and there are a lot of wonderful dark, dark places he could go,” added the 54-year-old, referring to the president of the United States, and referring also, of course, to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth.
Depp even acknowledged, while introducing his 2004 film “The Libertine,” that his comments would soon “be in the press.”
He continued, “I want to clarify, I am not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it has been a while, and maybe it is time.”
Depp’s incendiary comments come only a week after the horrific shooting of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and others on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, by a former Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer. The comments also come in the wake of other outrageous celebrity criticisms of the president. Kathy Griffin infamously held up the likeness of Trump’s bloody head, while others have threatened physical violence against the commander-in-chief.
Depp apologized for his comments in a public statement: “It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.” Yet the apology rings about as hollow as Griffin’s, since Depp told the audience on Thursday that he knew his words would “be in the press.” He knew what he was saying — and was trying to cause an uproar.
In the Depp case, these comments have come from a talented and successful actor. That’s why this is so surprising — and vastly disappointing. The man’s entire job is empathy, yet he can’t find something within himself to at least partly understand Trump or the millions and millions of Americans who voted for Trump and support his efforts to improve the country on many fronts.
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Somehow, when it comes to acting, Depp can be thoughtful, skilled and empathetic enough to understand just about any character — but in real life he doesn’t like Donald Trump. So, in his mind, that means the man should be killed.
And by the way, what exactly has the president done to warrant such a detestable comment or belief? Celebrities keep whining and moaning about the death of democracy, but Trump is a democratically elected leader, and no rights of any group have been stripped away. He’s also been in office for oh, about six months.
Depp’s words are despicable, especially given that he headlines Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, a collection of films that appeal greatly to kids. His name means something to this segment of our population — and they could be more aware of him as an actor and see this and think it is the sort of discourse that is OK.
It’s not OK, even for those who dislike the president.
For those who haven’t heard, Depp has also made headlines recently for documents from his divorce proceedings; they have revealed extravagances such as a $30,000-a-month wine habit and a private jet he refused to give up even after he blew through his fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
That sort of wealth likely has only helped Depp live within his Hollywood bubble — a place where he can say whatever he wants without consequences and where it’s “normal” to joke about killing President Trump. Perhaps Depp should step away from the spotlight, from Hollywood, and from his expensive wine and jets — and remember what it’s like to be a human being. Most human beings don’t find it normal or acceptable to make jokes about killing our president.