Johnny Depp fans are outraged after an episode of the Animaniacs revival on Hulu contains what they perceive as commentary on the actor's public and controversial divorce from Aquaman star Amber Heard. Fans of the actor, who recently revealed that he had been asked by Warner Bros. to step down from the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, were even calling for a full boycott of not just the Animaniacs reboot, but Warner Bros. overall for what they saw as taking sides in the matter.
At issue is a musical number in one of the episodes that sees Yakko, Wakko, and Dot singing and dancing all about the entertainment industry's obsession with reboots, sequels, prequels, and, well, anything that isn't an original product. At one point, Yakko sings about how "you've done sequels, try for prequels" while standing in front of a movie poster for a faux Johnny Depp films "Johnny 2: Telling Lies" with the actor holding a pair of scissors and another, "Johnny: The Beginning" with the latter featuring a child holding a bag of what appears to be candy.
Depp fans interpreted the moment as being a dig to Depp, with the cartoon -- as a stand-in for Warner Bros. itself -- calling Depp a liar about his abuse claims against ex-wife Amber Heard. The scissor part in particular fans believe is a reference to Heard's claims that Depp severed his own finger while Depp counters that it was Heard who caused the injury as part of a larger allegation that she, not he, was the abuser. A court in the U.K. recently ruled that 12 of the 14 counts of domestic violence that The Sun published in a 2018 online article that portrayed Depp as an abuser were "substantially true", a ruling that can be seen as siding with Heard. A separate lawsuit against Heard in the U.S. is still underway.
For fans, the distressing moment in the Animaniacs was enough to send them to social media to call for a boycott, while it also prompted some to suggest the real source of the joke is not Depp's relationship with Heard -- some even pointed out that production on Animaniacs started well before issues between Heard and Depp became public -- but a viral YouTube video, Johnny Johnny Yes Papa. In that video, a little boy is seen sitting and eating sugary snacks out of a bag (much as is seen on the faux poster) and when asked, denies this to his father. The father even specifically asks "Telling lies?" to which the child says "No, papa".
Even with the possible explanation, Depp fans are quite upset. You can read on for some of the passionate fan reaction to the perceived slight and let us know your own thoughts in the comments below.
So that picture of Johnny Depp holding scissors with the title, Johnny 2: Telling Lies, "joke"... are you going to apologise for that, or nah?— Battlelord Kagato, the Sword of Wrynn (@KagatoFordragon) November 23, 2020
My 6yr old and 3 yr old saw #Animaniacs on Smartcast on the tv and I had to tell them we wont be watching it at all because of how they made fun of abuse victim #JohnnyDepp and called him a liar. Horrible tactics to use a kids show to push negative comments.— Thomas (@Arythmicayde) November 24, 2020
Fuck animaniacs and fuck the Warner bros staff that thought it was a good idea to make fun of Johnny Depp for being a victim of domestic abuse. You guys are disgusting.— owen (@imtherealowen) November 24, 2020
For those crying about the Johnny Depp joke from the Animaniacs reboot, it's supposed to be a reference to the Johnny Johnny yes papa thing. Mind you, the episode was written in 2018. I guess it was just bad timing.a— Turduckie Mista (@turduckie) November 24, 2020
It was the bit in the reboot song with the Johnny Depp posters. In the first one it says "Johnny Depp - Johnny 2: Telling Lies" and in the second one it shows a baby eating sugar. It's not mocking Depp, it's referencing Johnny Johnny.— Dubious (@Dubious11506095) November 24, 2020
I'm really pissed off that they took Animaniacs, a show from my childhood and turned it into woke garbage. 😡 The original used to joke about everything and everyone. Now they just joke about the evil orange man. They also made a joke about how Johnny Depp is a liar. F the reboot— Wolf's Resurrection🌸 (warning: I ❤ and rt NSFW) (@WolfsResurrect1) November 23, 2020
So I saw that the #Animaniacs reboot took shots at #JohnnyDepp. Absolutely disgusting and despicable, this is why male victims don't speak up, they're never believed or they are ridiculed. #istandwithjohnnydepp #JohnnyDeppIsInnocent— CronaXRagnarok (@CronaXRagnarokk) November 23, 2020
The funniest Animaniacs "controversy" is how Johnny Depp stans are mad about a joke that was stated in the episode to have been written in 2018 and is just a reference to the "johnny johnny yes papa" song pic.twitter.com/dSXhZw5auj— Bisoro (@bisoromikuma) November 23, 2020
I love this Animaniacs reboot but the Johnny Depp jab is a little poor in taste coming from the same studio that rewarded his abuser & also fired him.— Justin (@manhattanroshi) November 23, 2020