Hastening his retreat to the mole underworld, Johnny Depp joked yesterday about killing Donald Trump, the sort of irreverent jest made by a Hollywood celebrity that is, along with Kathy Griffin and Shakespeare In The Park, currently the source of all the hate in the world. “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” Depp asked during an appearance at the Glastonbury festival, making a glib allusion to John Wilkes Booth that even Depp immediately realized would end up splattered across news stories like this one (“It’s gonna be in the press; it’ll be horrible”).
But while Depp could have predicted the backlash from conservatives who condemn all famous people advocating violence against America’s leaders except for Ted Nugent, he probably didn’t expect to receive an official condemnation from the White House. But such is the stupid world we live in now, where Trump’s ego is a matter of national concern, and every insult must be responded to in kind.
In a statement from a White House official who presumably spent years dreaming of bearing witness to major geopolitical decisions and helping to shape American democracy for eons to come, they made clear that the star of Pirates Of The Caribbean shouldn’t have said something dumb at a music festival: “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.”
While the world waits to see whether Orlando Bloom and the like will chastise Depp for casually joking about the violence that Trump has decried—other than that time he casually joked about punching a protester in the face, or that time he casually joked about shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, or that time he casually joked about “Second Amendment people” assassinating Hillary Clinton—Trump supporters have already been doing it for him. Twitter has been awash with calls for boycotts of his films, for Disney to fire him, as well as for the Secret Service to investigate him. Many, like Donald Trump Jr., have also taken the opportunity to bring up the allegations of abuse against Depp—a damning assessment of his behavior toward women and his character that should preclude anyone from entering the political arena. Unless, of course, it was all just locker-room talk, or those women were lying.
Still, whatever hypocrisy here from Depp’s critics, it’s true that Depp—like Griffin, like whoever else is going to pander to their audience next—is just giving these people the exact fodder they need to stoke their claims of the “violent left,” “liberal hysteria,” “Trump derangement,” and so on, which they can use to paint any actual, more legitimate attack on the president as just a symptom of irrational, personal personal hatred. And hooray, now we get to listen to several more weeks of obfuscating outrage about what a dumb celebrity said, all while debating the national “rhetoric” as defined by the wine-drunk rambles of a man trying to seem cool to a bunch of kids on molly. Thanks a fucking lot, Johnny Depp! Always a pleasure to see you in the news these days.
Anyway, while the White House was busy issuing statements condemning Johnny Depp for establishing today’s barbaric tone of the day, dozens of disabled people were being arrested and dragged from their wheelchairs while protesting plans to dismantle the Medicaid coverage that spares them from being institutionalized. But yes, Johnny Depp is also sad.