The XX Factor

Johnny Depp Apologizes for Comparing Photo Shoots to Rape

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is apologizing for his ill-advised comments comparing photo shoots to rape

Photo by Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

Johnny Depp is back-pedaling furiously today after some ill-advised comments from an upcoming Vanity Fair article were excerpted online by the Hollywood Reporter. Apparently, he doesn’t like promotional photo shoots:

Well, you just feel like you’re being raped somehow. Raped … It feels like a kind of weird –just weird, man,” says the actor, who doesn’t mind posing with fans. “But whenever you have a photo shoot or something like that, it’s like – you just feel dumb. It’s just so stupid.

I have always liked Depp, who seems a little less flighty and a little more substantive than your average Hollywood star. His choices in roles are interesting, going from his sensitive-artiste-with-a-costume-fetish partnership with Tim Burton to more conventional roles to roles that show his sense of humor (like Pirates of the Caribbean). He seems like a genuine family guy, with a very down to earth attitude about parenting.

The fact that he’s a generally good guy who’s a bit of an oddball makes it tempting to shrug off his comment as harmless. But it actually makes it more mystifying. He’s not known for saying stupid things, so if anything, this strikes me as even more thoughtless than it would be coming from someone else.

In the online excerpts of his interview, Depp is sheepish about making so much money but says he feels obligated to take it “for his kids.” Well, part of making $300 million for a series of Disney movies about pirates entails subjecting yourself to interviews and photo shoots. You can do it, or choose not to do it and maybe your kids will have to get by with $200 million. Your choice. So no, not rape.

The apology is probably “heartfelt,” as he himself described it. But given the rate at which public figures issue apologies these days, and given that there are only so many ways to say “I’m sorry,” they all feel formulaic, and his doesn’t really stand out. “Regretful.” “Lack of judgment.” “Poor choice of words.” You’re better than that, Johnny Depp.