Rihanna faces backlash for Johnny Depp's appearance during Savage X Fenty show

Following his defamation trial, Depp also appeared at the 2022 MTV VMA Awards.

November 7, 2022, 9:08 AM

Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4 is already creating a lot of buzz for a celebrity appearance many weren't expecting.

This year's fashion experience, premiering Nov. 9 on Prime Video, features Johnny Depp -- sparking lots of backlash and reactions.

Midway through the show, Deep appears from behind a tree as Outkast's "So Fresh, So Clean," begins to play. Wearing a Savage X Fenty ensemble, he walks through a dark woodsy set while dancers move about in the background.

Depp's modeling cameo lasts for nearly 40 seconds before the show fades into the next scene.

Following Depp's controversial defamation case between him and his ex-wife Amber Heard, many online commenters offered criticism upon hearing of the "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" actor's appearance in Rihanna's annual fashion extravaganza.

"Johnny Depp has been embraced as a hero by unhinged right-wing misogynist extremists, and now he's been invited to appear in the @SavageXFenty show. Never expected such a powerful woman to succumb to the #MeToo backlash. Really disappointing @rihanna," producer and activist Drew Dixon tweeted.

"Years and Years" singer Olly Alexander also took to social media to post a sad face following the news of Depp's controversial Savage X Fenty appearance.

Alexander, who's previously modeled in campaign ads for Rihanna's popular lingerie brand, also responded to a fan who mentioned how well he's worn the brand saying, "thank you but after this news i won't be wearing it anymore."

Savage X Fenty did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

This isn't the first time Depp's appearance has caused outrage. In 2019, Depp was at the center of controversy when he appeared in Dior's Sauvage campaign teaser ad, which featured Native American extras performing a ceremonial dance and wearing formal cultural clothing while Depp was seen promoting the cologne. Many found it to be offensive to Native Americans.

Depp attempted to defend the campaign by telling The Hollywood Reporter "A teaser obviously is a very concentrated version of images and there were objections to the teaser of the small film."

He continued, "There was never ... 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."

PHOTO: Johnny Depp waves to his fans during an afternoon recess outside court during the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard civil trial at Fairfax County Circuit Court, May 4, 2022, in Fairfax, Va.
Johnny Depp waves to his fans during an afternoon recess outside court during the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard civil trial at Fairfax County Circuit Court, May 4, 2022, in Fairfax, Va.
Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images

In June, a jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for his high-profile defamation case against his ex-wife. Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages and no punitive damages.

Reacting to the case, Depp said on Instagram, "False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career."

Heard also reacted, saying in a statement to ABC News, "The disappointment I feel today is beyond words."

She continued, "I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously."