Animaniacs Johnny Depp joke ignites # BoycottWarnerBros marketing campaign
Warner Bros. has come under fire again from Johnny Depp fans after a hint of Animaniacs rebooting taunted the actor. As most of us know, Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard are in the middle of a controversial legal battle. Both Depp and Heard claim that they were physically abused during their tumultuous marriage, each accusing the other of lying. It’s a volatile situation, but that hasn’t stopped Warner Bros. from leaving the Animaniacs Easter egg that appears to be shooting at Johnny.
A movie poster can be seen in the background of a scene Johnny Depp holding scissors. The film bears his full name and is entitled Johnny 2: Telling Lies, which obviously suggests that Depp is a liar. With the moment coming almost immediately after Depp stepped down from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts 3 by Warner Bros., the joke didn’t go down very well with Johnny’s fans, many of whom already felt like Depp it was being treated very unfairly by the studio.
“Animaniacs Johnny Depp’s dig is shocking,” tweeted a fan after the series premiered on Hulu. “The world still has a long way to go to recognize victims of abuse outside of stereotypes. Anyone who has come up with this and gone through it should be ashamed.”
Another fan writes: “When I was younger Animaniacs was one of my favorite shows. I was so excited they were more inclusive when rebooting, and then they had to taunt Johnny Depp, a victim of domestic violence, and it was over for me. “
A Change.org petition was also started by fans calling for a boycott of Warner Bros. over the joke. The description reads, “This is a cartoon for young audiences that basically teaches children that it is okay to bully and mock a male victim of domestic violence, and Warner Bros. is clearly sending the wrong message to the public. “
While the joke is certainly timed, unfortunately, there could be an innocent explanation. The Animaniacs podcast Twitter account, The Animanicast, tweeted that the joke merely references the nursery rhyme “Johny Johny Yes Papa,” which became an internet meme during the 2018 Animaniacs reboot. The nursery rhyme imagines a conversation between a father and son, with young Johny insisting that he not eat the sugar he was just caught with. “Tell lies?” the father asks in the middle of the rhyme what might have inspired the Johnny 2: Telling Lies poster in Animaniacs.
“This seems to be an unintended consequence of trying to be hip and trendy in writing in 2018,” the report said.
It is still possible that the Animaniacs staff were using the “Telling Lies” poster with dual meaning, as Heard had already labeled Depp an abuser by that point. Regardless of whether the excavation was intentional or not, perhaps it would have been best for the studio to have the visual gag removed when the series comes so soon after Depp’s very public legal drama with Heard and its controversial suppression of Fantastic Beasts 3. If you’d like to try the joke for yourself, you can catch it at the Animaniacs revival, which is now streamed nationwide on the official Hulu app.
That Diganiacs is digging Johnny Depp is shocking. The world still has a long way to go to identify victims of abuse outside of stereotypes. Anyone who thought this up and went through it should be ashamed.
– Ryan Elliott (@skeltoro) November 22, 2020
When I was younger, Animaniacs was one of my favorite shows. I was so excited that the restart made them get more involved, and then they had to mock domestic violence victim Johnny Depp and it was over for me. The voice actors I love you, it’s that one scene.
– Cat’s Obsession #BlackLivesMatter (@KitCatAboutAll) November 22, 2020
Do you remember the “Johnny Johnny …” “Yes Papa” thing?
Well. Looks like they were referring to it. ????????♂️ https://t.co/nCXm0ppleE
– The Animanicast (@animanicast) November 23, 2020
Nice brain, lightning fast fingers. Find me at @HorrorGeekLife.