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Rihanna Savage Fenty Johnny Depp
via Instagram (@badgalriri)

Johnny Depp will walk in Rihanna’s next Savage x Fenty show

Extremely problematic behaviour for an ‘unproblematic fave’

There is a specific genre of Tweet, usually afforded to Rihanna, that goes something like this: “See what happens when you mind your business??,” spliced with a pool-side photo of the musician, skin gleaming with an exotic flower in her hair. Much of her popularity has been based on this kind of thing – on the notion that, despite her billionaire status, she is still an “unproblematic fave”. A Dolly Parton for the Snapchat generation. Eat the rich! But spare Rihanna. Why, then, has she cast Johnny Depp – an alleged abuser who looks like halitosis – in her upcoming Savage x Fenty show alongside Rickey Thompson, Bella Poarch, Burna Boy, and Precious Lee?

Rumours began to brew on November 3 when an unnamed source told TMZ of Depp’s “chic and cool” appearance, with representatives of the disgraced actor now confirming his involvement – much to the dismay of Rihanna’s fanbase. If all was to go ahead, then Depp would feature in the showcase’s “star” segment, and will be the first-ever male celebrity invited to model. Savage x Fenty’s choice to platform someone with numerous cases of battery and domestic abuse leveled against them sets a dangerous precedent – much like his appearance at this year’s VMAs, where he made a strange and disconcerting cameo as canned whoops and cheers played overhead. 

In 2009, Rihanna was the victim of a violent attack by her then-boyfriend Chris Brown, for which he pleaded guilty and received five years of probation. Though she has yet to explain her motivations, Rihanna’s personal history with domestic violence makes her choice to co-sign Depp all the more confusing. How can a destructive misogynist contribute to Savage x Fenty’s pageant of all-inclusive empowerment? The brand is unlikely to offer-up a reasonable answer without cutting Depp’s scenes altogether – which could have happened, but did not. Here he is, walking through a forest like an escapee convict. 

Bad gal by name, bad gal by nature, the only response from Rhianna is to be found within an Instagram carousel of the pop star frollicking by a bonfire on the beach, or posing in lingerie. See what happens when you mind your business?