When Dior shared its new Sauvage perfume campaign last month, the company was met with criticism. Many were quick to call the commercial, which stars Johnny Depp, insensitive for its depiction of a man dressed in quintessential Native American attire. The video also saw Depp playing his guitar on rock formations, just for good measure.
At the premiere for his new film Waiting for the Barbarians at Deauville Film Festival, Depp has defended the campaign while also asserting that he and Dior are working with those who were offended. "There was never—and how could there be or how would there be—any dishonorable [intent]," he explained as the Hollywood Reporter noted. "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."
Shortly after the backlash on social media, Dior pulled the teaser video for the campaign. "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 added. "“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."
While it's not clear if the full Dior commercial will see the light of day, Depp said, "The idea is as pure as it ever was, so we will come to an agreement so that everyone is happy."
Depp previously received criticism for his role as Tonto in Disney's 2013 flop The Lone Ranger, in which the actor portrayed the Native American companion of the titular character.
During his time at the film festival, Depp received a tribute from French actress Catherine Deneuve, who called him "a fascinating chameleon, an elusive actor." On receiving the honor, Depp continued, "I'll probably be trying to figure out why I have [this honor] for the next 20 years—if I last that long."