Boston — It was recently announced that actor Johnny Depp will appear in Fenty CEO Rihanna’s upcoming “Savage X Fenty Vol. 4” fashion show, making him the first male celebrity to have a featured “star” moment in one of her fashion shows.
You and I probably had the same thought — ain’t that insane?
With other confirmed celebrities for the “Vol. 4” show include Rihanna herself, along with other icons like Sheryl Lee Ralph, Irina Shayk and Marsai Martin, with performances by Burna Boy and Anitta, the organizers describe the show set to stream of Prime Video as a ‘seductive fashion fever dream.’
At the sound of Depp’s “star” moment being added to the show, there has been an uproar amid recent controversies surrounding the actor’s name.
“This is more confusing than anything else to the point where there’s something going on here that I’m just not seeing,” A source told me at the break of the news.
Another said, “It’s about public relations here, that’s all.”
The general confusion stems from Depp's highly publicized defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, which took place just a few months ago. The jury found that Heard had defamed Depp in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which she alluded to being a victim of domestic violence, but also that Depp defamed Heard, through his attorney, while fighting back against her charges.
The trials were messy, and Depp and Heard's fan bases were caught between a rock and a hard place, trying to make sense of what information was being presented to them in order to move forward.
Between the MTV Video Music Awards, Jeff Beck concerts after their 13-track joint album titled “18” in July, the actor has made several public appearances in an attempt to stage a comeback. He also has plans to direct a biographical drama about Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, produced by Al Pacino and Barry Navidi.
In addition to that, Depp is also starring in his first role since the defamation case as the controversial King Louis XV in French filmmaker Maïwenn’s upcoming film “Jeanne du Barry.”
Embarrassingly enough, the actor’s career appears to still be better than most and it seems like there are plenty of people who are either forgetting or overlooking his problematic past — including singer Rihanna.
“Our sources say Rihanna and her team invited Johnny to be a part of it, and both sides were super excited to make it happen,” TMZ reported.
This isn’t new for Hollywood as we know it, and while it seems like fans may decide on their own to say “no more” to supporting an abuser, a figure affiliated with controversy or all of the above, the industry will not let said person go out like that.
The question is why?
There are far too many Fenty consumers who have had the unfortunate reality of surviving with experiences related to various types of assault, so for the “Umbrella” singer to invite Depp ‘with excitement’ is significantly weird, especially given that the company's core principle is inclusivity.
When inclusivity is the topic on the table, spotlighting a straight white male abuser is not what we mean.
Twitter users expressed their disapproval using the hashtag #DitchDepp in efforts to virtually protest this inappropriate decision.
British singer and actor Olly Alexander — who has previously collaborated with Savage X Fenty on a social media campaign — announced on social media that he "won't be wearing" the brand any longer.
One source said, “Inclusivity that gets turned into profit isn’t ever going to be sustainable.”
We know Rihanna to have taste because after all, she founded Fenty — a brand that has shown they celebrate diversity in fashion and beauty! However, putting an abuser on the front lines of the same brand that represents those who may be victims of domestic violence is completely tasteless.
“This choice is probably much more about Johnny Depp’s reputation and him wanting to get the approval of someone who is a well known domestic abuse survivor, and his team’s efforts towards rehabilitating his public image rather than continuing an attempt at inclusivity for men.” A source said.
So like many others, I want to have a strong-willed discussion with Rihanna, who has her own history of domestic violence perpetrated by singer Chris Brown, with the general message being: BFFR (be f*cking for real)!
If these two icons are excited to collaborate with each other to continue to tarnish both of their legacies, that’s fine. Just not with me, and many, many others.
“I wasn’t an ardent supporter of them before, but I especially don’t like when companies use their marketing in a way that is muddied and unclear and doesn’t seem like it’s going to be made clear,” A source said. “It just seems out of left field, and more confusing as it is clarifying. There are other brands to support, that may be a little more transparent.”
“Savage X Fenty Vol. 4” releases on Prime Video on Nov. 9.