On Thursday, Johnny Depp appeared onstage at the Glastonbury Festival in England to introduce his 2004 film, The Libertine. Although the film is far from current, the actor’s speech took a timely turn when he commented on American politics. Among his most notorious remarks, Depp made an assassination joke about President Trump.
When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? … I want to clarify, I am not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it has been a while and maybe it is time.
UPDATE: Johnny Depp issued an apology in a statement to 'PEOPLE' on Friday. "I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump," Depp said. "It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone."
According to The Guardian, Depp was likely referencing the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was an actor. The inflammatory comments reportedly elicited both cheers and boos from the audience.
Of the U.S. president, Depp also said, “I think he needs help.” In the moment, he seemed to know what sort of effect his words would have. He predicted, “This is going to be in the press. It will be horrible. I like that you are all a part of it.”
It’s not the first time Depp has had fun at the expense of Trump. Last year, Depp mocked then-candidate Trump in a satirical video version of Trump’s best-selling book, The Art of the Deal. The video, in which Depp portrayed Trump, was a Funny or Die project.
Depp also isn’t the first celebrity to imply an assassination joke about Trump. Last month, comedian Kathy Griffin made headlines for a controversial photo shoot that showed her holding what appeared to be the president’s bloody, decapitated head. TMZ first shared the photo ahead of its release. Griffin later acknowledged the photo on Twitter, calling Trump the “mocker in chief,” but she ultimately issued an apology for the unsettling image.
“I beg for your forgiveness,” she said. “I went too far and I was wrong.”
For his part, the president did not appear to respond to Depp’s comments on Thursday. However, he did respond to Griffin’s photo shoot in May. Trump tweeted after the photo went viral that Griffin “should be ashamed of herself,” adding that his children, in particular 11-year-old Barron Trump, were “having a hard time” with the photo.
In reality, violence against politicians has been no laughing matter as of late. Last week, a gunman shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, while he was practicing for a congressional baseball game. Scalise underwent several surgeries and had remained in critical condition until Wednesday, when his condition was reportedly upgraded to fair. Scalise’s shooting has put jokes like Griffin’s and Depp’s into a new perspective.