Johnny Depp’s Former Director Is Speaking Out About The Canceled Star’s Behavior

By Nathan Kamal | 2 months ago

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp has seen himself fall from one of Hollywood’s most beloved and well-paid A-List actors to getting booted off a second-run franchise within just a few years. Beginning in 2016, a series of extremely incidents, lawsuits, and allegations took a serious toll on both his beloved public persona as a charmingly rakish actor and his career as a bankable star. While not many in Hollywood have consistently risen to Depp’s defense against his many current troubles, a former director of his has spoken up. In particular, legendary filmmaker and provocateur John Waters revealed in an interview with The New York Times that he has never personally seen Depp behave negatively towards women, even while under the effects of drugs or alcohol. Here’s what Waters said: 

There are people I would like to cancel, but at the same time I’m saying it humorously. I’m not going to go through each person who’s been cancelled and say what I think, but I never saw Johnny Depp act negatively to a woman in my entire life – and I did drugs and got drunk with him.

It is probably proper to contextualize John Waters’ statements about Johnny Depp (and his alleged behavior). In this particular interview, the idea of “cancel culture” is being invoked, and unsurprisingly, the director of Pink Flamingos has thoughts. More specifically, Waters feels that basically every artist would be “canceled” if our current cultural standards and perceptions were invoked retroactively, which is pretty hard to argue with. For what it’s worth, he also would gladly take a few cancelations of famous individuals. Waters has been primarily known as a transgressive artist, and despite having been relatively embraced by the mainstream in the latter half of his career, has often been the target of censorship and criticism in the name of good taste. The director spent years shocking audiences through the portrayal of extreme acts and individuals who were shunned by mainstream society, so it is not particularly surprising that he would be coming to the defense of Depp. As Waters puts it, he believes in the extremes of free speech. 

Johnny Depp starred in John Waters’ 1990 movie ​​Cry-Baby, produced at the apex of Waters’ acceptance in the studio system. Following the moderate success of his film ​​Hairspray, Waters found himself in the unprecedented position of studios actually bidding for his work, and thus chose to make the logical thing: a throwback musical comedy riffing on 1950s delinquent culture with the guy who got killed in a waterbed in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Cry-Baby was another moderate success, but did not launch Waters any further into the mainstream. In contrast, Depp also starred in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands in 1990 and quickly became an indie star in the upcoming years. Eventually, he would become a bonafide movie star with the Pirates of the Caribbean series, while Waters saw both Cry-Baby and Hairspray adapted as enormously successful Broadway musicals. 


Regardless of the support of John Waters, Johnny Depp is still at a relatively low point in his career. Depp currently faces a $100 million lawsuit for defamation filed by his former spouse, Aquaman star Amber Heard. It is currently preparing to go to trial, and an unusually large number of famous names are expected to testify in this most recent of a number of well-publicized legal issues in Depp’s life. At the same time, it appears that Depp is attempting to slowly make a comeback and has hopes for re-entering the good graces of Hollywood. We’ll see.