Culture

Johnny Depp Fights Back Against Claims Of Cultural Appropriation, Says There Was No Harmful ‘Intent’ In Dior Ad

French fashion house Dior and Johnny Depp have been in the headlines for a campaign that many are calling blatant cultural appropriation. The campaign featured a trailer for a short film that showed Johnny Depp playing a guitar in the desert while a traditional Native American dancer of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe performed a war dance.

Many say the campaign missed the mark and called it yet another example of major corporations exploiting Indigenous cultures for profit.

But Johnny Depp is speaking out against the uproar and trying to put the public in its place and let’s just say it’s not going over too well

Johnny Depp isn’t having any of the drama and is sticking up for his ad campaign with the French fashion house.

Johnny Depp has come out fighting amid claims he helped facilitate the ‘cultural appropriation’ of Native American imagery for a Dior advert, by insisting the promotion was ‘made with respect’.

Depp was dragged into the controversy by co-star Tanya Beatty who issued a public call on Instagram for him to make a charitable donation as recompense for having ‘blatantly disrespected indigenous culture’, an idea Depp now seems unlikely to take up.

In a robust defence of the ‘Just Ad Indian’ campaign for Dior Sauvage, Depp said: “A teaser is obviously a very concentrated version of images and there were objections to the teaser of the small film. The film has never been seen. There was never — and how could there be or how would there be — any dishonourable [intent].

“‘It’s a pity that people jumped the gun and made these objections. However, their objections are their objections. It was a film made out of great respect and with great respect and love for the Native American peoples to bring light to them.”

All of this started when Dior released an ad that many people called our for blatant cultural appropriation.

Depp had faced criticism over the campaign for the French fashion house after a clip debuted. The clip, part of a short film directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, showed Depp wandering through desert as Native Americans perform a war dance in traditional dress. The company received complaints that it was offensive and it was subsequently taken down.

Dior also moved to defend itself from claims of cultural appropriation.

According to Dior, Native American consultants from an indigenous advocacy organization worked with the brand on the project, “in order to respect Indigenous cultures, values, and heritage.” 

Depp said that there has been no final decision to pull the ad and the creative teams plan to meet and work with those who were offended by the clip to come to a resolution. He noted the creative team had worked with the Comanche Nation and other indigenous advocacy organizations during the creation of the film.

Depp was basically saying he was disappointed that people ‘jumped the gun’ and rushed to judgement.

“It’s a pity that people jumped the gun and made these objections,” Depp said of the project last week, adding, “However, their objections are their objections.” 

The actor also said that the idea for the film was “pure.” 

“I can assure you that no one has any reason to go out to try to exploit,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.

People on social media weren’t having any of the blatant disregard for the opinions from people of color.

This is 100% truth. All too often when white people do something that offends they claim that their ‘intent’ wasn’t to harm anyone. That may be very well the truth but but their actions still caused harm and they need to own up to it.

One Twitter user pointed out how frustrating it is that white folks often write off the harm they caused saying it wasn’t their ‘intent.’

Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

Others wanted to remind Depp that he and others don’t get to decide when Indigenous people get to be offended by something.

Far too often, white people try and tell minorities when, where, and why they’re allowed to be offended. This needs to stop.

While at least one Twitter user pointed out the gross use of the word ‘Sauvage’ in a campaign meant to honor Native Americans.

The campaign that was meant to honor Native American culture was for a cologne by Dior called ‘Sauvage’ – French for savage. Now, for hundreds of years the word savage has been used as a slur to separate people of Indigenous descent from white Westerners – to depict them as animalistic and less than human.

Given the words hurtful history, it was surprising that Dior would use this particular cologne as a tool to supposedly shine light on Native American culture in a positive light.

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Yalitza Aparicio Stars In Dior’s Women-Centric Film Series

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Yalitza Aparicio Stars In Dior’s Women-Centric Film Series

Dior/ Youtube.com

In the two years that have passed since her debut as an actress in the 2018 Academy Award-winning film Roma, Yaltiza Aparicio has established herself as a Hollywood “get.” The Indigenous actress has appeared countless times on the cover of magazines, ones like Vogue México and Vanity Fair, and has been featured in ad campaigns for designers like Rodarte. So it’s no surprise that she has now been tapped to be part of Dior’s new campaign “Dior Stands with Women.”

As part of an effort to celebrate women across the film, beauty, and health industries Dior has launched its “Dior Stands with Women” campaign.

On Monday, the fashion brand announced it had launched a series of short films honoring women and their contributions to the industries and communities which they occupy. The campaign features actresses like Yaltiza Aparicio, model Paloma Elsesser, dancer Leyna Bloom, Cara Delevingne, Charlize Theron, Parris Goebel, and others.

In a statement about the campaign, Dior announced their intent in a post on Instagram. “Inspired by the exceptional women who have marked its history, Christian Dior Parfums unveils a series of short filmed portraits that give a chance to speak to extraordinary women,” it reads.

Speaking in the portrait series, Aparicio explains “For me, being a woman means being strong, always holding your head up because they tell you what they say, you must be sure of what you are capable of,” she went onto say that as “as an ambassador for UNESCO, my role is to represent indigenous communities with dignity. Give them a voice and visibility, which is something that we have lacked for a long time… Women have fought for many years for gender equality. It is not about being superior to men, it is about having the same opportunities, that in your work they give you a fair salary and not simply because you are a woman they pay you less or that they consider that you have fewer capacities simply because you are a woman.”

Speaking about their journeys, actresses Cara Delevinge and Charlize Theron touched on being unapologetic and part of male-dominated industries.

Check out Yalitza and the others in the Dior campaigns below.

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This Brand Is Being Called A ‘Culture Vulture’ After Being Accused Of Gentrifying Latino Cooking

Culture

This Brand Is Being Called A ‘Culture Vulture’ After Being Accused Of Gentrifying Latino Cooking

Granddriver / Getty Images

As a kid growing up in a Latino household, pretty much everyone had a giant molcajete for grinding up spices and making salsas, or a tortilladora for whipping up homemade tacos and quesadillas. And as staple of pretty much any Latina home, they weren’t that expensive either.

Well, one online company has taken all of that and flipped it upside down to try and make a very hefty profit by bringing ‘artisan crafted’ products into people’s homes – helping them experience a ‘cultural journey.’

The store’s outrageous prices for such traditional kitchen items is generating tons of criticism alone from people calling them ‘culture vultures’ and accusing them of gentrifying Latino cooking and cultural appropriation.

Verve Culture is being called a ‘culture vulture’ for taking traditional Latino cooking tools and selling them at insanely high prices.

Credit: MiComidaVegana / YouTube

Verve Culture – an online store dedicated to bringing “you on a cultural journey” – is facing a series of complaints after profiting from traditional cultural products. The company sells typical products in the preparation of three traditional cuisines at very high prices: Mexican, Moroccan, and Thai.

In the case of traditional Mexican products, the company sells orange and lemon juices; accessories for making chocolate, blown glasses, and molcajetes. And at insanely high prices: a molcajete for $60, a tortilla press for $60, a Mexican chocolate set for $80, and a “Mexican hand juicer” for $15.

The company is obviously profiting off of traditional products of a culture that is too often denigrated – or on the other end of the spectrum, fetishized. Brands are no stranger to appropriating traditional cultural items to boost sales but this particular instance seems to have hit a major nerve with shoppers.

Like, for real?! A molcajete for $60 USD?!

Among some of the most outrageous priced items is a molcajete and tortillero set that goes for $60 USD. That’s literally 20 times more expensive than it should cost.

As someone who lives in Ciudad de México, and who does their shopping at local tianguis and mercados, I have literally bought the exact same set Verve Culture is selling. I paid $60 pesos for the set – not $60 USD – or about $3 USD.

Selling items like this at such inflated prices means Verve Culture is profiting off of the cultural and gastronomic identity of an entire country. So it’s no surprise that Mexican Twitter lit up in shock and anger.

The reaction on Twitter was swift and full of outrage.

A Tweet showing off the outrageously priced products and accusing the brand of “gentrifying Mexican kitchen cookware” already has 36,000 likes and almost 20,000 retweets.

Among some of the comments include one Twitter user who said “Take your site down. This is an insult to Mexican culture along with all the other cultures you’re profiting off. Our culture is not your home decor!”

Another user tweeted, “…not of them is brown so it should really be named stolen culture because they’re selling fancy versions of things traditional to Mexican culture. Having one is fine, profiting off of a minority or their culture is not fine.”

While at least one person pointed out that the people who craft these items have long been taken advantage of. In a tweet, she said “Culturally we’ve been taught that our incredible craft and culture are worth close to nothing for years now, I really wish we could just collectively erase this mindset but at this point it’s so deeply rooted that thinking differently even feels “wrong” most times.”

Many pointed out that if you want to respect a culture’s food, support actual locals and artesanos.

Shopping online from three women who are not from the communities they’re profiting off of, is now way to support that community. That should be common sense but that site seems to have many customers.

As one Twitter user pointed out, if you really want to support local trabajadores, you should be buying directly from them. Shop in your local flea markets, your Latinx-owned shops and markets, this is how you’ll best help artisans.

The company’s $60 tortilla press was even featured in a Buzzfeed article earlier this year.

In the article, the author points out that the “tortilla press is made in Mexico from old Singer sewing machines and other recycled irons! The cast iron should last you, basically, forever so it’s definitely worth your money.”

That’s all great but where is that money going? How much of the $60 is the Mexican, Moroccan, Thai artisan actually earning from Verve Culture’s sales?

So what is Verve Culture and what do they have to say about all of this?

According to their website, Verve Culture is “a women-run business spanning three generational groups from Baby Boomer, Gen X, to Millennial.” As founders, Jules and Jacquie are a mother and daughter team who have worked together for 27 years.

In the company’s about section, they go on to say, “We are in constant pursuit of life traveled fully.”

“Our vision is to explore the cultural richness of artisans and communities around the world – to educate and inspire, while honoring the traditions and heritage of their work.”

Despite these claims, Twitter has been loud and clear in its message: stop profiting off the backs of already underpaid and overworked artisans from around the world.

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