Depp walks away from the tree, towards another. At one point in its short journey, it moves in slow motion. His empty gaze remains fixed on the camera, apart from the brief moments when he moves towards the coordinated dancers he passes or towards the tree he approaches and kisses lightly.
The whole thing takes about 40 seconds in a special that lasts that many minutes, but the very inclusion of Depp in “Vol. 4” sparked days of outrage before its Wednesday release on Prime Video. The 59-year-old actor has been a polarizing presence these days, with anger towards him stemming from ex-wife Amber Heard’s claims that he abused her throughout their relationship, which ended in 2016.
In June, Depp won her high-profile libel lawsuit against Heard over a 2018 op-ed in which she portrayed herself as a representative of domestic violence; he was awarded $15 million, while she was awarded $2 million after the jury found that Depp’s attorney, Adam Waldman, defamed Heard (one of three counts in her case against -pursuit).
Depp returned to business shortly after the verdict. He created a TikTok account which attracted 16.5 million followers and announced that he would be releasing an album with British guitarist Jeff Beck. He has movie projects booked, including a biopic by artist Modigliani that Depp is set to direct and co-produce with Al Pacino. Dior continued to support Depp, who has been the famous face of its Sauvage cologne since 2015.
Rihanna is not the first to support Depp publicly, and “Vol. 4” isn’t Depp’s first surprise appearance this year — in August, he made a bizarre virtual appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards as Moonperson, the VMAs’ mascot who usually appears in trophy form. But given Rihanna’s massive influence as a pop superstar and billionaire business mogul, Depp’s critics argued she was abusing her platform. On social media, Depp’s ardent fans interpreted his appearance in “Vol. 4” as Rihanna, a prominent survivor of domestic violence, showing solidarity with Depp, who alleged that Heard was violent towards him. .
Rihanna, whose business ventures Savage X Fenty and Fenty Beauty have been praised for serving diverse consumer groups, has also received praise for the inventiveness of her Savage X Fenty shows, which have already featured celebrities. Depp appears in “Vol. 4” alongside Hollywood stars such as Winston Duke, Taraji P. Henson and Sheryl Lee Ralph, as well as models such as Joan Smalls and Cara Delevingne. Representatives for Savage X Fenty did not respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment on Depp’s appearance on the show.
Earlier this year, news broke that Depp planned to appeal Heard’s $2 million countersuit verdict; Virginia Court of Appeals records show that its legal team formally filed last week.
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