By Stephanie Merry and Lindsey Bever, The Washington Post
Johnny Depp apologized Friday for making flip remarks about assassinating the president. In a statement to People, the actor said, “I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump. It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”
Depp was Glastonbury Festival’s inaugural guest at its new Cineramageddon drive-in movie theater in Britain Thursday night, and he certainly gave the place a memorable launch. While introducing a screening of his 2004 movie “The Libertine,” he made inflammatory statements about President Donald Trump.
“I think he needs help and there are a lot of wonderful dark, dark places he could go,” Depp said, according to the Guardian.
He then asked the crowd, “When was the last time an actor assassinated the president?”
The answer is 1865, when John Wilkes Booth shot and killed Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre.
“It is just a question – I’m not insinuating anything,” he assured the crowd. “By the way, this is going to be in the press. It will be horrible. I like that you are all a part of it.”
He also claimed that he wasn’t referring to himself, since he’s not really an actor.
“I lie for a living,” he clarified. “However, it has been a while and maybe it is time.”
White House officials were not amused.
“The joke is no laughing matter,” Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “These things are real.”
Conway called Depp a “nut job” and said his statement was “not a slip of the tongue” but rather a deliberate attempt to spread “vile” ideas that could “easily inflame lunatics who wish to bring harm.”
A Secret Service spokesman told The Post that the agency is “aware of the comment in question. For security reasons, we cannot discuss specifically nor in general terms the means and methods of how we perform our protective responsibilities.”
Depp is hardly the first celebrity to target Trump.
Madonna came under fire in January, after she said she’d “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.”
Comedian Kathy Griffin was roundly criticized – and fired from CNN – after she was photographed holding a mask of what looked like President Trump’s bloody severed head.
“We expect actors and musicians and others to continue to spew hateful rhetoric,” Conway said Friday.
How, she wondered, will people react to Depp’s remarks?
“Will people chide him, discipline him or drop him?” she asked.
In a sharply worded statement to The Post, deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “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.”
This isn’t the first time Depp has aired his feelings about Trump; he played the then-candidate in Funny or Die’s “The Art of the Deal: The Movie” in early 2016. But that was mere parody – not something the Secret Service might need to investigate.
Depp has been the subject of plenty of bad press in the past year. First there was the very public implosion of his short marriage to Amber Heard, who claimed the actor had physically abused her. Photos of her bruised face circulated on the Internet.
Meanwhile, Depp sued his business managers, who in turn countersued, going public with some very unsavory accusations about the actor, saying that he has compulsive spending disorder and had squandered hundreds of millions of dollars with an outrageously extravagant lifestyle that included spending $30,000 every month on wine. According to a Hollywood Reporter story about Depp’s recent troubles, he was also difficult on the set of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” where he routinely showed up late for work, leaving the cast and crew waiting around for hours.
And now there are his statements at Glastonbury.
If Kathy Griffin’s experience joking about Trump’s death – by holding up a fake severed head that resembled the president – is any indication, there could be some serious blowback. Griffin ended up making a tearful apology but still lost her New Year’s Eve gig with CNN.
This isn’t Depp’s first public apology. He had to do so on videotape when he and Heard illegally smuggled their dogs into Australia. The formal apology the pair made was stilted and stiff but at least seemed genuine. Later, Depp told Jimmy Kimmel that there had been a few takes of the mea culpa, since it was hard for him to keep his composure.
So much for saying sorry. But Depp said it himself: He lies for a living.
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