Johnny Depp is defending Dior's "Sauvage" campaign, which drew accusations of racism and cultural appropriation last month for its depiction of Native Americans.
The 56-year-old actor opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about what he believes Dior was trying to accomplish with the controversial advertisements.
“There was never — and how could there be or how would there be — any dishonorable (intent). The film was made with a great respect for the indigenous people not just of North America but all over the world. It's a pity that people jumped the gun and made these objections. However, their objections are their objections,” Depp said in the article published Sunday.
Since the backlash, Dior has purged their social media accounts of any trace of the initial teasers, but the campaign showed Depp wandering through desert as Native Americans performed a war dance in traditional dress.
According to THR, the teasers were snippets of a larger film for Dior directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Depp told the magazine these initial posts did not represent the full film.
“A teaser obviously is a very concentrated version of images and there were objections to the teaser of the small film. The film has never been seen,” he said.
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Dior's campaign was developed along with Native American consultants, but the ad continued to receive heavy criticism for being insensitive and having an offensive name. Sauvage in French has a variety of meanings, including wild, unspoiled and savage.
Despite these criticisms, Depp said the film was made with "great respect and love" for Native Americans.
“I can assure you that no one has any reason to go out to try to exploit. It was a film made out of great respect and with great respect and love for the Native American peoples to bring light to them. They haven't had the greatest amount of help out of the United States government,” he said. “The idea is as pure as it ever was, so we will come to an agreement so that everyone is happy.”
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In addition to its portrayal of Native Americans, the campaign also received backlash for featuring Depp, who drew criticism for his portrayal of Tonto in the 2013 movie "The Lone Ranger" despite working with consultants from the group Americans for Indian Opportunity, which also consulted on the Dior ad.
USA TODAY has reached out to Depp for comment.
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