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Rihanna faces backlash for casting Johnny Depp in new Savage X Fenty show

Rihanna faces backlash for casting Johnny Depp in new Savage X Fenty show

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

Actor Johnny Depp is set to appear in Rihanna’s new Savage X Fenty fashion show, sparking outrage online and calling for a boycott of the singer’s lingerie brand.

The 59-year-old actor, who claimed he was re-enrolled by Hollywood amid his high-profile legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, has already filmed his cameo in the runway extravaganza, which will make his debut on Amazon’s Prime Video next week. Although Depp is not named in the press materials or the show’s trailer, his appearance was confirmed directly by CNN. Neither representatives for Rihanna nor Amazon immediately responded to requests for comment on the decision to cast Depp.

Described by Amazon as a “seductive fashion fever dream”, the fourth edition of the label’s star-studded show features performances from Anitta and Burna Boy, as well as appearances from Cara Delevingne, Simu Liu and TikTok star Bella Poarch. . Once news of Depp’s involvement broke, fans started asking Rihanna to delete her scenes.

“Editing crew better be here to take this man down,” read a response to a post promoting the show on Savage X Fenty’s Instagram account.

Dancers seen on stage during the Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4 in Simi Valley, CA. Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

On Twitter, users expressed their disapproval using the hashtag #DitchDepp, with some threatening to boycott the label. Music producer Drew Dixon describe the decision to call the actor “truly disappointing”, while British singer and actor Olly Alexander – who previously collaborated with Savage X Fenty on a social media campaign – announced on social media that he “wouldn’t will carry more” the brand longer.
With the show not slated to air until Wednesday, some commentators wondered if Depp would even do the final cut. “For those who are outraged, I would wait to see if this actually happens,” tweeted author Art Tavana. “That’s not how Rihanna rolls. Her brand is bulletproof.”

After her divorce in 2017, Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic violence.”

Rihanna attends the "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere at the Dolby Theater on October 26, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

Rihanna attends the premiere of ‘Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever’ at Dolby Theater on October 26, 2022 in Hollywood, California. Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Heard then counter-sued him for $100 million, which led to an explosive televised trial in which the two were found guilty of defamation, although the jury awarded Depp much larger damages.

Heard claims Depp abused her during their marriage, a claim the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor has always denied. Depp has also said he’s been a victim of domestic violence – a claim some of his followers have likened to Rihanna’s own experience of abuse during a relationship with singer Chris Brown. “Survivors supporting survivors”, wrote a Twitter user in support of the singer’s casting choice.

During the six-week trial, Depp claimed Heard’s accusations led to him being kicked out of future “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. The actor also lost his role in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film franchise following his unsuccessful UK libel suit against a UK newspaper over domestic abuse allegations.

Actor Marsai Martin and TikTok star Bella Poarch are seen during the Savage X Fenty Show Vol.  4.

Actor Marsai Martin and TikTok star Bella Poarch are seen during the Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4. Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Depp nonetheless made several high-profile appearances in the months following the June verdict. In August, he made a surprise appearance at MTV’s Video Music Awards, where a video of his face was superimposed on a life-size Moonman floating above the stage. “I just want you to know that I’m available for birthdays, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, weddings, wakes, whatever you need,” he joked to the audience.
In his first major return to screens, Depp is set to appear as King Louis XV in the upcoming French film ‘La Favorite’. He also reprized his voice role as Johnny Puff in the animated TV series “Puffins Impossible” and is set to direct a film about Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, according to Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter.
Savage X Fenty, which also makes men’s underwear, has been lauded in the past for its inclusive size and diverse distribution.

Top image: Johnny Depp pictured during his libel trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia on April 27, 2022.

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