LOS ANGELES, CA — Hollywood star Johnny Depp is under fire for remarks he made during an appearance in England to promote a film, during which he called for the assassination of American president Donald Trump.
Depp, who was appearing at a theater in Glastonbury, England to introduce his 2004 film “The Libertine”, began discussing the last time a president was assassinated in a theater, reports The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jun/23/johnny-depp-jokes-about-killing-trump-in-glastonbury-appearance?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter).
“When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” Depp asked, referencing John Wilkes Booth assassination of Republican President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
“I want to clarify, I am not an actor. I lie for a living,” Depp said. “However, it has been a while and maybe it is time.”
Depp’s comments come just one week after the politically-motivated shooting of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise by self proclaimed “anti-Republican activist” James “Tom” Hodgkinson.
In a statement, a spokesperson for President Trump condemned Depp’s comments calling them “sad”.
“President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and its sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead,” the statement reads. “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.”
When reached for comment, a representative for the Secret Service said the agency has been made aware of Depp’s comments and confirmed that they are investigating.
“The Secret Service is aware of the Mr. Depp’s comments. For operational security reasons, we do not discuss specifically or in general terms the means and methods of how we conduct our protective responsibilities,” the spokesperson said.
Depp’s comments are the latest in a string of controversial statements by Hollywood celebrities that have called for the death of President Trump.
Earlier this month, comedian Kathy Griffin faced a wave of backlash after being photographed holding up a replica of the president’s bloody, severed head. The incident led to a boycott of Griffin’s shows and venues across the country cancelled her upcoming appearances. Many of Griffin’s sponsors also dropped her as a direct result of the controversy.
“Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself,” the president wrote on Twitter. “My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
Facing similar backlash, Depp issued a statement on Friday apologizing for his comments in an effort to calm the controversy.
“I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump,” Depp told People Magazine (http://people.com/politics/johnny-depp-apologizes-for-comments-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.”
Despite Depp’s atonement, calls have surfaced on social media for an immediate boycott of Depp’s movies and for the actor to be fired from Disney, the company that produces his films.
“@Disney Do you support Johnny Depp’s statement “when was the last time an actor assassinated a President?” After shooting just days ago?” one Twitter user asked the entertainment giant?
So far, there has been no official response from Disney over the controversy.