Johnny Depp Receives Gold Medal of Merit By Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic

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In this photo provided by the Serbian Presidential Press Service, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, right, awards the Gold Medal of Merit of the Republic of Serbia to actor Johnny Depp, during a Statehood Day award ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. (Serbian Presidential Press Service via AP)

Johnny Depp was awarded the medal of honour by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić for his “outstanding merits in public and cultural activities, especially in the field of film art and the promotion of the Republic of Serbia in the world”. This news comes after the actor’s controversy following on from the 2020 libel suit against the UK tabloid paper The Sun, who referred to him as a “wife-beater” in an article about his relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard; Johnny Depp lost the case, and spoke up about cancel culture prior to receiving the major Film Fest award back in September 2021.

He said, “No one is safe,” when speaking about the dangers of cancel culture at the San Sebastián International Film Festival. He spoke during a press conference where he was asked for his thoughts on cancel culture and social media’s role in it, to which the famous actor responded that it is a “complex situation” and said that “this instant rush to judgment based on essentially what amounts to polluted air that is exhaled.”

He continued, “It’s so far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe. Not one of you. Not one of you… as long as someone is willing to say one sentence. It takes just one sentence and there is no more ground. The carpet has been pulled. It’s not just me this has happened to. It’s happened to a lot of people. This type of thing has happened to women, men, and children who have suffered from various types of unpleasantries and they sadly, at a certain point, begin to think that it’s normal…. I believe that if you are armed with the truth, then that’s all you need. It doesn’t matter if a judgment…has taken some artistic license.”

Credit: EPA

After losing the 2020 case against The Sun for referring to him as a “wife-beater”, Johnny Depp was urged to resign from his Grindelwald role in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ series, as well as having his film ‘Minamata’ put on hold, which was released in other countries instead.

In February 2022, Johnny Depp received the Gold Medal of Merit by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. The star responded to the honour by saying, “I truly, sincerely thank you, President Vučić, and this medal of merit, if I am given the honour to walk away with this, I thank you for being kind enough to bestow it upon me. I’m right now on the verge of a new life and I like it, I like a re-beginning. And I would love for that for that beginning to start here.”

This award was received as part of Serbian Statehood Day, “which commemorates the first Serbian uprising that led to the Serbian Revolution against Ottoman rule in the early 1800s”. Johnny Depp recently worked on a lot of Serbian-related projects, including shooting scenes in Belgrade for ‘Minamata’ and lending his voice for a lead role in the Serbian-produced animated series ‘Puffins’.