One week after baseball-field shooter James Hodgkinson tried to kill as many Republicans “as possible,” Johhny Depp joked Thursday at the Gladstonbury Festival in Somerset, England, about assassinating President Trump. He has since apologized, but should his apology matter?
Addressing the crowd before a screening of his 2004 film, The Libertine, Depp — who is most famous for roles where he portrays characters who are varying degrees of mentally unstable — took a turn at real life imitating the silver screen. His threat was caught on video. He began by asking, “Can we bring Trump here?” When the crowd began booing, Depp explained, “No, no, no, you misunderstood completely.” Someone off camera said, “So we can give him some love and rehabilitation...” and Depp replied, “I think he needs help.” The crowd laughed at that.
This would have been a good stopping point. If Depp had stopped right there, he would have merely joined the company of liberal celebrities who have taken cheap verbal shots at Trump. But, alas, it appears that — without a script to follow and no director to shout, “Cut!” — Depp didn’t know what not to say or when to close his mouth.
He obviously knew he was about to go too far, because he said, “This is going to be in the press and it’ll be horrible.” He then went on to say, “But I’d like you all to be a part of it. When was the last time and actor assassinated a president?” The crowd went wild with laughter, applause, and shouts. Depp went on, “Now, I want to clarify: I’m not an actor; I lie for a living.” While that is where the video below cuts off — and would be bad enough on its own — another video, shot from a greater distance — shows Depp following up with, “However, It’s been a while and maybe it’s about time.”
(Warning: The following video contains language some viewers may find offensive.)
And while it is already a tired cliché to ask this question, it has to be asked because if it stops being asked, comments such as Depp’s borrow a false legitimacy: Can anyone imagine the reaction if a conservative actor (yes, there are a few) had asked that same question when Obama still occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Movies canceled, contracts canceled — a total blackballing.
Of course, Depp’s lowbrow remarks delivered in what appeared to be a drug- or drink- (or both) induced state of suspended brain activity, were eight days after a deranged leftist opened fire on a baseball practice of Republican congressmen and staffers, critically wounding Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.). They also came in the wake of other leftist entertainers making similar remarks, most notably Madonna saying she’s “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House” and Kathy Griffin’s video showing what appeared to be President Trump’s severed head.
Griffin later apologized for the video, but that doesn’t change the fact that she made it. Depp, reacting to the immediate backlash — which included fans tweeting that they would boycott his movies and even the liberal media reporting that he went too far — has also apologized. He told People magazine, “I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump,” adding, “It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”
Yawn. He knew what he was saying before he said it — that’s why he made the remark about it being “in the press” and being “horrible.” His over-the-shoulder apology should not be allowed to excuse his deliberate calling for the assassination of a sitting president.
And it may not, at that. The White House condemned Depp’s remarks in a statement to ABC News, saying, “President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and it's sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. I hope that some of Mr. Depp's colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would if his comments were directed to a Democrat elected official." ABC News also reported that the Secret Service is “aware of [Depp’s] comments and that “Johhny Depp is likely to get a call or a visit from the Secret Service, the latest entertainer who will find out that for law enforcement, some jokes have consequences.”
Whether or not those “consequences” involve a Secret Service investigation, he’s already getting some very bad press over it and former fans are outraged enough to hold him accountable in the box office.
Photo: Screen-grab from video.