Politics

‘... The last time an actor assassinated a president?’: Depp apologizes for Trump joke

By Greg Hadley

ghadley@mcclatchy.com

Actor Johnny Depp addresses film goers at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017.
Actor Johnny Depp addresses film goers at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017. Grant Pollard/Invision/AP

Movie star Johnny Depp has been officially condemned by the White House for a controversial joke he made about President Donald Trump while in the United Kingdom on Thursday.

Appearing at Cineramageddon, a film festival in Glastonbury, England, Depp was introducing a film before 1,500 fans before he began speaking about Trump, according to the Guardian.

“Can we bring Trump here?” Depp asked fans, to widespread boos and jeers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“No, no, you’ve misunderstood me,” Depp continued. “I think he needs help. There are a lot of dark places he could go.”

“I'm not insinuating anything — by the way this will be in the press and it will be horrible — but when was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” Depp said, according to the Telegraph, referencing the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by actor John Wilkes Booth.

“I want to clarify, I'm not an actor. I lie for a living,” Depp continued, per BBC News. “[But] it's been a while. Maybe it's about time.”

Trump supporters immediately blasted the comments on Twitter and Facebook, with some calling for Depp to be detained before he is allowed back in the United States. According to ABC News, the White House issued a statement several hours later.

“President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and it's sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead,” the White House statement read. “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.”

On Friday, Depp apologized for his comments, calling them a “bad joke.”

“I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump,” the actor said in a statement. “It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”

Depp’s disdain for Trump is nothing new. In May 2016, he said that if Trump was elected, “we will see the actual last president of the United States,” per HuffPost. Depp has also parodied Trump with an impersonation in a film produced by FunnyOrDie.com. He’s also referred to Trump as a “brat,” according to the Independent.

He is also not the first person to be criticized for referencing Trump’s assassination, angering the president’s supporters. Comedian Kathy Griffin was widely criticized for a photo shoot in which she posed with a replica of Trump’s decapitated head. Singer Madonna made waves on Jan. 21 when she spoke at the Women’s March and said she had “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” Most recently, several corporate sponsors have withdrawn their support for New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park, whose production of “Julius Caesar” included a Trump-like figure being assassinated.

Depp’s comments also come at a time of heightened tensions in Washington D.C. after a gunman shot Republican House member Steve Scalise and four others on a baseball field a week ago. Since then, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress say they’ve received death threats.

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