The saga of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has taken many twists and turns over the last couple of years, but only in 2020 could a throwaway joke featuring an animated likeness of the former Pirates of the Caribbean star in an episode of the Animaniacs revival on Hulu cause an online firestorm that’s both completely unexpected and yet totally unsurprising at the same time.
Since being dropped from Fantastic Beasts 3 after coming out on the losing end of his libel trial against a British tabloid that ran a headline calling him a wife beater, fans have rallied behind Depp. They’ve launched petitions in an attempt to have him reinstated as Jack Sparrow and Grindelwald despite both franchises moving forward on new installments without him, while the campaign to have Heard fired from Aquaman 2 sailed past a million signatures as supporters also plan to boycott the DCEU’s superhero sequel.
In true modern day internet fashion, a new petition has now been launched calling for the team behind Animaniacs to apologize for the aforementioned joke, which centers around a sight gag for a poster for fictional movie Johnny 2: Telling Lies. Fans were quick to jump on the bandwagon to blast both the show and the studio, even though it appears to be nothing more than a reference to the ‘Johny Johny Yes Papa’ meme that was a big viral hit in 2018, and you can check out some of the incredulous reactions below.
when I was younger Animaniacs was one of my favorite shows. I was so excited they were being more inclusive in the reboot,then right out the gate they had to mock Johnny Depp a victim of domestic violence and it was over for me. The voice actors I love you, it’s that one scene.
— Cat is adulting (@KitCatAboutAll) November 22, 2020
That Animaniacs Johnny Depp dig is shocking. World's got a long way to go in recognising victims of abuse outside of stereotypes. Whoever came up with that and also went through with it should be ashamed.
— Ryan Elliott-Brown (@skeltoro) November 22, 2020
— Jenn♡wereallinfected (@asphodelstar) November 23, 2020
#BoycottWarnerBrothers Some defend this because the reboot was written in 2018 and was capitalising on the Johnny Johnny Yes Papa meme, but considering Depp was a polarising topic for the entire year plus new info even if above was true, they should have just edited it out. pic.twitter.com/gAgMzqfGKh
— Sir K (@SirKillalot98) November 22, 2020
This is disgraceful. Fuck you @wbpictures. Sign the petition. Let WB know they messed up big time. #JusticeForJohnnyDepp #AmberHeardIsTheRealAbuser #BoycottWarnerBrothers #boycottaquaman2 #boycottfantasticbeasts3https://t.co/CCpizESKGz
— May Thompson (@MayTom2515) November 23, 2020
— ジョーダン (Jor) Stuck in Backlog Hell (@PyraJord) November 22, 2020
As much as I liked the new Animaniacs, I can not in good conscience bring myself to support this show or Warner Brothers. It is absolutely sickening to see them use a cartoon to make fun of an Abuse victim while wholeheartedly defending the culprit. #BoycottWarnerBrothers pic.twitter.com/swmkA4g75B
— Crow (@ScaringTheCrow) November 22, 2020
Warner Brothers: this is a sick thing to do to an abuse survivor. Listen to the tapes – Johnny Depp has been put through psychological torture and physical abuse. I'm sorry that I don't find this funny, but it's no laughing matter.#BoycottWarnerBrothers#JusticeForJohnnyDepp pic.twitter.com/E3BBmX3ITq
— Samji (@SamjiSmokes) November 22, 2020
— edia ❥☽ ✪ (@outoftouchat3am) November 23, 2020
The latest chapter in the never-ending story looks to be rooted in the fact that the Animaniacs scripts were written a couple of years ago when the meme was at its cultural peak, so if anything, the entire backlash is based on the revived series having outdated humor more than any malicious attempts to further undermine Johnny Depp’s credibility. But given that this is the internet we’re talking about, that fact hasn’t done much to calm his fans down.