Despite being fired from the sixth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp is still using his former role as the swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow to his advantage in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Last week – the fifth week of the ongoing trial – the actor entertained his supporters with a Jack Sparrow impersonation in front of Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, where the case is being heard. Per CNN, one fan exclaimed, “You’ll always be our Captain Jack Sparrow!” as Depp exited the courthouse in an SUV.
“He’s still around somewhere,” Depp said replied in his character’s classic drunken voice. “I see him every now and then. He shows up every now and then.”
RELATED: Why Fox News is obsessed with Johnny Depp, its Manliness Under Siege mascot
Depp was officially dropped from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in December 2018, shortly after Heard’s Washington Post op-ed detailing personal accounts of abuse but refrained from naming Depp as her abuser. Whether or not the actor will return to reprise his role remains to be seen. Just days before the fifth week of the trial, franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer stated that Depp will not be playing Sparrow anytime soon and that his future with the franchise is “undetermined.”
The sudden break in Depp’s acting career was followed by another loss when the actor was forced to say goodbye to the Fantastic Beasts films after losing a libel case against British tabloid The Sun. During his testimony and cross-examination, Depp lamented both losses and explained that his series of lawsuits involved both his profession and his name. Regardless, Depp still remains a lauded A-lister in Hollywood — which can’t be said of Heard, who’s younger and not as established in the industry. And while the punches were effective, they also brought Depp comfort and loyalty from his enduring fan base.
If that six-week process has proven anything, it’s that Depp’s fans absolutely adore and adore him. According to The New York Times, Depp fanatics have routinely lined up outside the courthouse at dawn, carrying signs with endearing messages, carrying merchandise and – in one case – walking a pair of Depp-loving alpacas. They also have nothing but selfless praise for the actor and seem to meld his on-screen characters with the real man.
“We just want to support our captain,” one fan, who came dressed as an extra in Pirates of the Caribbean to film content for his YouTube channel, told the outlet. “If he goes down with the ship, we go down with him.”
“It’s a childhood dream come true,” said another fan. “It’s why everyone else is here.”
Want a daily roundup of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter Crash Course.
It’s pretty clear that Depp is aware of his own popularity and has used it to assert himself in front of his throng of followers. In addition to the Sparrow video other online videos Show how the actor happily accepts gifts, blows kisses, hugs and waves to his fans. If someone were living under a rock, they’d probably think the viral clips are from a meet-and-greet rather than an important mutual abuse trial.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Depp’s treatment of the trial alongside the angry “Stan culture” is that it diverts the focus from Heard’s serious allegations and further silences survivors of domestic and sexual violence and discredits their allegations of abuse. Since its inception, the Heard Depp trial has been viewed as entertainment on social media, as has countless TikTok users mocked Heard’s statements through exaggerated re-enactments and derogatory comments. There are enough distractions in all this hype already, and Depp’s moment in the spotlight is a distasteful tactic to absolve himself of guilt or crime. If anything, it takes away the seriousness and gravity of the case as a whole.
An abuse case should not be used as an opportunity for good PR, period. It’s rude and offensive.
More stories you might like: