Johnny Depp apologizes for assassination joke

Story highlights

  • The comment appeared to be a reference to John Wilkes Booth, the actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865
  • Secret Service aware of Depp's comment

(CNN)Johnny Depp has apologized for a remark he made about assassination.

"I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump," he said in a statement made exclusively to People magazine. "It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone."
Even before Johnny Depp said it, the actor seemed to know that his comment would ignite controversy.
    "This is going to be in the press, and it will be horrible..." he said, speaking to a crowd on Thursday. "When was the last time an actor assassinated a President?"
    The actor was at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK when he made his remarks, which were recorded.
    On Friday, the White House called Depp's remarks "sad."
    "President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and its sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. I hope that some of Mr. Depp's colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would if his comments were directed to a democrat elected official," a White House official said in a statement.
    During an off-camera press briefing Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called Depp's comments "troubling."
    "The President's made it clear that we should denounce violence in all its forms, and I think if we're going to hold to that standard and we should all agree that standard should be universally called out," Spicer said.
    Al Baldasaro, a former Trump advisor who called for Hillary Clinton's execution last year, attended an event at the White House on Friday.
    When asked about Baldasaro's presence, Spicer said all threats of violence should be condemned.
    "I don't believe -- and the president has said this as well -- anybody who goes out and tries to highlight those kinds of actions should not be welcome. I'm not aware of the comments he made," Spicer said. "I don't think that we should be resorting to that language with respect to anyone in our country."
    The Secret Service is aware of Depp's comment, Secret Service staff assistant Shawn Holtzclaw told CNN.
    "For security reasons, we cannot discuss specifically nor in general terms the means and methods of how we perform our protective responsibilities," according to a statement from the Secret Service.
    Depp brought up the topic of President Trump while speaking to the crowd.
    "Can we bring Trump here?" he asked.
    The UK crowd booed and roared, "No."
    "I think he needs help," Depp said, as the crowd laughed.
    "This is going to be in the press, and it will be horrible," he said. He paused briefly and said, "But I like that you're all a part of it."
    "When was the last time an actor assassinated a President?" he asked.
    It appeared to be a reference to John Wilkes Booth, the actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
    After posing the question, Depp added, "I want to clarify. I'm not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it's been a while, and maybe it's time."
    Last year, Depp played Trump in a nearly hourlong spoof called, "Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie."
    CNN has reached out to Depp's publicist for comment on this story.
    The controversy is just the latest Depp headline in what has been a turbulent few years for the actor.
    In 2015, Depp and then wife Amber Heard set off an international incident when it was discovered the couple skirted Australia's strict biosecurity laws by bringing their dogs into the country without appropriate paperwork.
    Heard pleaded guilty, received a sentence that spared her detention, and the couple released a video apology.
    The following year, the actress and her husband found themselves involved in a messy divorce that included accusations of abuse.
    "Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love," they said in a joint statement. "Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm."
    More recently, documents filed by Depp's former managers claimed the actor had "compulsive" spending habits totaling more than $2 million a month, including $30,000 on high-end wine, $300,000 for his staff of 40 and hundreds of thousands of dollars on a sound engineer to allegedly feed him lines on movie sets.
    Depp responded to the scrutiny by telling The Wall Street Journal his spending habits were his business.
    "It's my money," Depp said. "If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it's my thing."