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Dior pulls Johnny Depp perfume ad after claims of cultural appropriation

Online critics accused the luxury brand of stereotyping for using Native American culture in a fragrance called Sauvage.

Dior pulls Johnny Depp perfume ad after claims of cultural appropriation

Johnny Depp in Dior's Sauvage perfume ad. (Photo: Dior)

Johnny Depp and Dior are under fire after being criticised for cultural appropriation, with the luxury brand pulling out its new advertisement that used Native American culture to sell its Sauvage fragrance line.

The advert campaign titled We Are The Land, which briefly appeared on social media before it was removed on Friday (Aug 30), featured the actor playing a guitar in the desert while a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe performed a warrior dance in traditional wardrobe. It also starred Twilight actress Tanaya Beatty, whose mother is of Da’Naxda’xw Nation descent.

A member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe performed a warrior dance in traditional wardrobe for Dior's Sauvage ad. (Photo: Youtube/Dior)

But social media critics were having none of it, claiming it was insensitive to feature Native American culture for a perfume with a French word for “savage” and that it promoted stereotypes.

The video, which said to have been done in collaboration with advocacy group Americans For Indian Opportunity, was filmed in the Canyonlands, the ancestral lands of the Apache, Navajo and Ute people.

Depp is no stranger to this particular controversy – in 2012, he was made an honourary member of the Comanche tribe back and he has also mentioned having Native American ancestry. For the 2013 film The Lone Ranger, he also played the Native American sidekick Tonto.

Dior had explained that the creators had been in close contact with Native American consultants “in order to respect indigenous cultures, values and heritage.”

Twilight actress Tanaya Beatty, whose mother is of Da’Naxda’xw Nation descent. (Photo: Dior)

But it did little to calm people down online. “White ppl need to understand that it doesn’t matter if Native Americans participated in the ad. Dior is using our culture next to the word sauvage, profiting on our people and I guarantee you not a dime is going to us,” wrote one.

Another said: “Someone on the Dior creative team: Hey, since the fragrance is called Sauvage, let’s make it Indian-themed! Ya know cause Indians are wild and savage!’”

American Gods actress Kawennahere Devery Jacobs tweeted: “You’re telling me that @Dior is profiting off Indigenous culture/imagery, and hired JOHNNY DEPP to star in the ad for a perfume called SAUVAGE?! ...who thought this was okay?"

Source: CNA/mm

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