What the Hell, Rihanna?
Johnny Depp will be the first man featured in the upcoming Savage x Fenty fashion show and it's a weird, weird move
Someone needs to explain this to me. Because I really-really don’t understand. Why the hell are celebrities so eager to rally around Johnny Depp in the wake of the Amber Heard trial?
Sure, sexism. Heard was endlessly ridiculed and villainized all over social media, which made the coverage of the trial problematic, to say the least. The case was complex, but the coverage was pretty one-sided. And it wasn’t good for women. Out came all the old tropes, and slowly all the progress from the Me-Too era vanished before my eyes. The urge to “Believe Women'' seems dead in the water.
But this is far beyond your everyday sexism. A large part of this tumultuous trial was the meme-ification of Amber Heard in media res — which millions streamed live for weeks. Social media, especially TikTok, and media outlets participated in the complete villainization of Heard. Soundbites and memes of Heard proliferated around the internet, painting her as a manipulative liar or a ridiculous actress. And Depp and his team were celebrated for their “gotcha” moments and impressive story-spinning that inevitably led to a victory for Depp.
“Because the US trial was before a jury, it allowed Depp’s lawyers to focus on Heard.” This is a well-worn tactic of defendants in domestic abuse cases, an experienced lawyer told The Guardian. “Heard’s team also made tactical mistakes and were outdone by a more experienced set of lawyers … Heard’s team were not predominantly trained libel lawyers, and they were outgunned at every corner. They were up against a very strong team for Depp.”
We’ll be reckoning with that in about 20 years when a Free Britney-style documentary comes out, and people wonder how we, the media, could have treated a woman like that. A tragic reckoning of the post-Me Too era, the whole debacle.
But ever since Depp was, for reasons still unclear to me, declared innocent, everyone has lost their damn minds. Somehow, Depp has become the symbol of male survivors of domestic abuse … which is a questionable narrative, to say the least.
Why does this man stillhave such a grip on the culture? Willy Wonka? Pirates of the Caribbean? I need this to make sense. Because the lengths people are going not only to forgive him, but to absolve him of any wrongdoing, is completely mind-boggling.
So imagine my shock, horror, and, honestly, disgust when the news was announced: Johnny Depp will make a guest appearance at Rihanna’s “Savage X Fenty Vol. 4” as the first male star to be featured.
“Our sources say Rihanna and her team invited Johnny to be a part of it, and both sides were super excited to make it happen,” TMZ reported.
Depp won’t be walking the runway in the show. Rather, he'll be featured center stage in one of the show’s “star" moments, just like Cindy Crawford and Erykah Badu have done before him. Wearing items from the Savage x Fenty men’s collection, Depp will be the first male in the history of Savage x Fenty to take this role.
\u201cif a pic of johnny depp in lingerie ever gets through my vision I'll need rihanna to compensate me with 2 billion dollars\u201d— ggedon (@ggedon) 1667469526
However, unlike other superstars featured in this section, Depp's never been known for a flair for fashion — those Sauvage commercials are the closest he’s ever come to the fashion world. So, it’s a strange collaboration that doesn’t make any sense on paper. Especially in light of Depp’s divisive image.
Rihanna … what the hell, bestie?
I love Rihanna. I own Fenty makeup — a lot. I've ritualistically applied the Fenty skincare. I even splurged on the goddamn Savage x Fenty pieces — and this is what I get in return?
The internet is split. Some are calling this a collaboration between two domestic abuse survivors. This narrative stems directly from the manipulative genius of Depp’s PR team, which managed to paint him as the victim of his relationship with Heard. This narrative is now been parroted by Depp defenders, despite the murkiness of the Heard trial and former trials which found him guilty of domestic abuse.
Others are highly critical of Rihanna’s choice. After last year’s Savage x Fenty show was criticized with widespread claims of cultural appropriation, Rihanna issued an earnest statement pledging to do better.
Girl, this is definitely not better.
Much of the commentary is anti-Depp. My favorite tweet: “Gross! Rihanna entering her Fenty Flop era?”
I'm decidedly disappointed by this development. Especially since this comes right after Rihanna's triumphant return to music. Suddenly, I'm not feeling so triumphant. Even our faves make mistakes, but this one will take a minute to get over.
The general consensus is … disappointment — not just in Rihanna, but the overall cultural narrative surrounding Depp that has allowed him to emerge from his trial stronger than ever.
Anyway, here’s what Twitter's saying:
\u201cMight as well call her comeback album \u201cThe Wrong Side of HistoRIH\u201d\u201d— Michael. (@Michael.) 1667478569
\u201cCrazy to me. Literally in what world. Where is her team? Her publicist? HER BRAIN https://t.co/w8QLrZJluj\u201d— Meech (@Meech) 1667475333
\u201c\u201cAmber Heard ruined Johnny Depp\u2019s life!\u201d No, Johnny Depp destroyed Amber Heard\u2019s life and career, made her a global target, and forced her to relive her trauma in multiple courts, only for him to be rewarded by a society intent on maintaining the patriarchal status quo\u201d— Kat Tenbarge (@Kat Tenbarge) 1667484047
\u201crihanna going out of her way to, like, rehabilitate the image of a domestic abuser and rapist is fucking crazy cause the hell is johnny depp, a rapidly decaying corpse, going to do at a LINGERIE SHOW? but even past all that does she even know her audience?\u201d— sk (@sk) 1667489061
\u201cthe johnny depp propaganda is so insane cause EVEN ignoring the whole abuse case he been a terrible person n extremely racist and misogynistic \ud83d\ude2d\ud83d\ude2d\u2026 crazy\u201d— #MunchOnThat #Igor_Day (@#MunchOnThat #Igor_Day) 1667486332