Actor Johnny Depp recently made headlines due to a remark where he seemingly threatened the life of President Donald Trump. As expected, the backlash against the inappropriate statement was immediate. But a negative public opinion might be the least of the Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s worries. If some reports are to be believed, Depp could be up against the Secret Service with the possibility of being tried as an “enemy terrorist combatant.”
Fortunately, Snopes looked into the matter and arrived at the conclusion that it was just a fake report. The publication concluded that Johnny Depp won’t be tried as a terrorist for the joke and that the Secret Service is not likely to go after the actor, especially now that he has already apologized for the incident.
Snopes is of course referring to an article published in the Last Line of Defense (LLOD) site which claimed that Johnny Depp is going to be “charged with conspiracy to assassinate the president,” In addition, the LLOD site also claimed that the actor may be “held as a terrorist enemy combatant” for his statements during the Glastonbury Festival.
According to Snopes, one of the glaring clues that the LLOD article was just fake news is that it also claimed that Johnny Depp is an Islam devotee, which is untrue.
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BBC also made its own analysis on Johnny Depp’s’ threat to President Trump. According to the publication, the US Secret Service is the agency responsible for monitoring possible threats to the President’s life. But in this case, the agency might just decide that there was no real intent to harm him, given that Depp already issued an apology.
Apparently, Johnny Depp is not the first celebrity who threatened the White House and its occupants. The publication noted that Madonna once said she thought “an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” A Secret Service official made a statement on whether the agency considered the singer’s remarks to be a genuine threat or not, a statement that may be also applicable to Depp’s case.
“It’s all about intent. Is she intending to do harm to the White House or President Trump? Otherwise it will be characterised as inappropriate.”
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Artists’ statements are usually considered an exercise of freedom of expression and, as such, are protected under the First Amendment. In a USA Today interview, Stanford University Law Professor Nathaniel Persily explained that one can say they wish the president dead but not necessarily threaten him at the same time.
“People are allowed to wish the president dead. To threaten someone you need words that encourage some sort of action.”
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