The 59-year-old actor’s appearance at the awards show Sunday night was one of Depp’s first major outings since his multi-million-dollar defamation trial against Amber Heard ended in June, but a number of viewers tuning in were divided about seeing Depp.
Depp first appeared early on in the night via a hologram dubbed “Moonperson” at the 2022 awards show, where he appeared to be floating around with his face in the hologram suit’s helmet.
“Hey, you know what? I needed the work,” Depp joked while dressed in an animated version of the silver astronaut statue the night’s winners were later awarded.
“I just want you guys to know that I’m available for birthdays, bar mitvahs, bat mitzvahs, weddings, wakes,” the Pirates of the Caribbean star quipped. “Any old thing you need.”
LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” could also be heard playing in the background of the segment, which many users on social media speculated to be a subtle dig at Depp’s contentious relationship with Heard.
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But while some viewers tuning in to Sunday night’s video music award ceremony were happy to see Depp, numerous other viewers were less excited to see the previously ostracized and embattled actor.
“Honestly f--- the VMA’s for including Johnny Depp,” one user tweeted shortly after Depp’s surprise appearance. “The entire crowd of Amber’s industry peers are cheering for her abuser. it makes me sick. the industry hasn’t changed at all. not surprised, but still so disappointed.”
“You know what’s wild about Johnny Depp’s appearance at the VMAs? Before this year, they have never made a point to even mention his ass in regards to ANYTHING music,” another Twitter used fumed. “This was some weird, intentional, line-in-the-sand a-- stance they arbitrarily took to piss people off.”
“Everybody wanted Will Smith blacklisted from award ceremonies over an open palm slap but Johnny Depp can have 12 counts of abuse and rape proven against him as well as assaults going back to 80s and he’s celebrated and included in ceremonies that aren’t even his line of work,” yet another frustrated MTV VMAs viewer tweeted Sunday night.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Depp’s surprise appearance at the VMAs Sunday night marked one of his first major appearances since winning his defamation case against Heard on June 1 after a Virginia jury ruled in his favor.
Heard was ultimately ordered to pay her ex-husband over $10 million in punitive and compensatory damages for defaming Depp, although Heard recently fired her main attorney and hired a new pair of lawyers to represent her as she attempts to appeal the $10.4 million guilty verdict against her.