Johnny Depp insists axed Sauvage advert was made 'with great respect' for Native Americans

Ben Arnold
Johnny Depp (Credit: Marc Piasecki/WireImage)

A controversial ad campaign for the Johnny Depp-endorsed fragrance Sauvage that was pulled by luxury brand Dior was made with “great respect” for Native Americans, the actor has said.

The ad was axed on August 30 soon after it was unveiled, following complaints that it was offensive to Native American people.

Entitled We Are the Land, the campaign advert found Depp in the desert playing guitar while a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe performed a warrior dance in full ceremonial attire.

Read more: Depp campaign ‘deleted’ from social media

When a teaser for the ad was unveiled, it was soon lambasted for appropriating Native American culture, with many noting the fragrance's name and its proximity to the word “savage”.

Defending the project, Depp told press (via THR) at the Deauville Film Festival: “A teaser obviously is 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].

“The film was made with a great respect for the indigenous people not just of North America but all over the world. It's a pity that people jumped the gun and made these objections. However, their objections are their objections.

“I can assure you that no one has any reason to go out to try to exploit. 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.

Read more: Kim Kardashian in cultural appropriation row

“They haven't had the greatest amount of help out of the United States government. The idea is as pure as it ever was, so we will come to an agreement so that everyone is happy.”

Johnny Depp as Tonto in 'The Lone Ranger' (Credit: Disney)

Depp added that there has been no official decision to pull the campaign, and that the creative team is still hoping to find a resolution.

He also said they had worked with the Comanche Nation and other organisations while formulating the advert.

Depp has long said that he believes he has Native American heritage on his grandmother's side, though his casting in 2013's The Lone Ranger, in which he played the Native American character Tonto, caused consternation at the time.

He was later formerly adopted by the Comanche Nation tribe and given the name “Mah-Woo-Meh”, meaning “Shape Shifter”.