On Thursday, that is, the same day new evidence surfaced that actor and alleged domestic abuser Johnny Depp assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp also made a failed attempt at humor as he asked, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a President?” to a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK.
Predictably enough, just weeks after comedian Kathy Griffin posted a photo of herself holding a (fake) severed head in Donald Trump‘s likeness, the joke did not sit well.
Many were shocked by Depp’s comment, but they shouldn’t have been. And I’m not just saying that because Depp has a long history of saying outlandish things. Let’s also not forget powerful evidence of his history of violence and abuse. It’s easy to see how he could consider talk of killing a man to be trivial, even funny, after years of allegedly threatening and physically abusing his then-wife — and without consequences.
Depp allegedly kicked, hit, and threw things at Heard on numerous occasions. On top of text messages and admissions by Depp’s management team, Heard also had a photograph of her bruised face, and yet, still, somehow, the overarching media narrative was that it was her word against his, even that, despite all of the evidence Heard was able to present, that she was lying.
The two eventually settled in court, but Depp, for the most part, walked away from the situation unscathed. He continues to star in high-profile movies (Pirates of the Caribbean, Murder on the Oriental Express, The Invisible Man), his career continues to flourish.
He had the money to pay to make the situation go away, in court, and his recent comments show that what he ultimately took away from the experience is that there are no consequences for wealthy, influential men like him.
According to the evidence, Depp has found he can hurt and abuse his wife and walk away largely unscathed — no damage to his career, little damage to his name as many continue to believe and support him over Heard. Why can’t he, a wealthy, influential man joke about killing the president?
“This is going to be in the press, and it will be horrible,” Depp conceded on Thursday, before going on to make the grotesque joke, anyway.
He knows he can say and do “horrible” things and get away with it, and it would seem he knows this in no small part because of his alleged experiences with Heard.
Trump has since responded to the actor’s statement, predictably calling it “sad.”
A White House official said in a statement:
“President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and its 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.”
Who knows, maybe it will be different this time around. After all, this time, Depp has picked a fight with another wealthy, powerful man, another man who, like Depp, knows the potency of his privilege and has also used it to silence and oppress women. Maybe this time, Depp has met his match.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.