Johnny Depp’s post-abuse trial comeback tour is taking some odd directions, including his cologne deal, a TikTok account, and a literal tour with collaborator Jeff Beck. Most bizarrely, he’s supposedly set to make an appearance during this Sunday’s VMAs, according to a report from the New York Post.
A “source close to the production” confirmed to the tabloid that Depp will appear on the broadcast, supposedly dressed up as a Moonman (MTV has switched to the gender-neutral “Moonperson,” but seeing as how it’ll be an actual man in there…). According to a generic quote from the insider, Depp is “really excited” about the appearance and “ready for his comeback.”
Depp has won a few MTV Movie Awards in the past, but he’s not up for any VMAs, nor does he have anything to promote except for his own professed innocence of abuse towards ex-wife Amber Heard. So if these inside sources (who also leaked the news to TMZ a few days ago) are to be believed, this appearance is nothing more than a shallow stunt from MTV to capitalize on the furor that surrounded the Depp-Heard defamation trial and the fervent support Depp received on social media during that time.
While many surely still remain in the anti-Amber Heard camp, MTV may find that support for Depp has dwindled in the months since the verdict. In July, fans of the actor chipped in to unseal court documents that ended up looking much “worse for Johnny,” a legal expert told Rolling Stone.
The documents, which were blocked from the case, included disturbing text messages with Marilyn Manson and an attempt by Depp’s team to submit nude photos of Heard as evidence in the televised trial. Heard has been vocal about her plans to appeal since the verdict was handed down, and recently hired new high-profile lawyers, David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of law firm Ballard Spahr, per Deadline.
Regardless of whether the court of public opinion trends for or against Depp, MTV obviously has no qualms about backing a controversial figure. Nicki Minaj has been tapped as co-host and the recipient of this year’s Video Vanguard Award, despite being embroiled in her husband’s sexual assault scandal (he was recently sentenced to a year in home confinement for failing to register as a sex offender) and releasing her latest single (“Super Freaky Girl”) with a credit for Dr. Luke, who was accused of sexual assault by Kesha. With Minaj as a centerpiece of the show and Depp appearing as a literal representation of the awards, MTV is sending a dubious message about the figures it is willing to stand behind.