A recent cologne ad featuring actor Johnny Depp has been pulled for its alleged appropriation of Native American imagery and culture, sparking cries of racism.
According to Fox News, Dior dropped teaser ads for the $150 cologne “Sauvage” on Friday night and pulled it within less than 24 hours after significant backlash online.
“Early Friday night, the French luxury giant started wiping ‘We are the Land’ teaser videos of the ‘authentic journey deep into the Native American soul,’ which was set for release Sept. 1 from Twitter and Instagram after widespread backlash online,” reports the outlet. “Beyond the imagery, many were upset by the language used by the campaign.”
Much of the ad features Johnny Depp, who has repped Dior since 2015, wandering across an Arizona wilderness intercut between shots of a Native American woman wearing a wolf skin suit and man dancing in a traditional headdress. As the ad concludes, Depp intones, “We are the land. The new ‘Sauvage.’ Le Parfum.'” See the ad below:
The use of the word “Sauvage” (meaning savage) in association with Native American imagery did not sit well with folks on Instagram and Twitter, and the ad quickly fell subject to an onslaught of angry attacks.
“‘Sauvage’ is the word the racist mobs were screaming when they stoned Mohawk civilians during the Oka crisis,” one user tweeted.
“How did this make it all the way through production without someone informing the creators of the utter racism and continuation of colonial attitudes with this. Sickening,” said another user.
“Um…feathers, and buckskin…aren’t we trying to get away from those stereotypes? Ugh. Johnny…you’re killing me. This is bad in so many ways. Sauvage? As in Savage. So we’re savages AGAIN. DIOR you need to DO BETTER,” said another.
Others were supportive of the ad, saying it highlighted the ethereal beauty of Native American culture and represented them fairly.
“[Dior] & Jean-Baptiste Mondino along with Johnny Depp created such of a beautiful and meaningful campaign. The Dior Sauvage films are to be cherished. The Native American culture is very spiritual and traditional. Dior captured this essence with sauvage and Johnny Depp,” tweeted one user.
“Well done everyone hating on [Dior] you’ve ruined a project that Indigenous People worked hard on to help bring representation to mainstream media. Truly just…good work. Y’all feel better now?” said another.
In a statement to Fox Business, Dior said that the ad actually stemmed from the Advance Indigeneity Campaign associated with the Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO).
“The Parfums Christian Dior project is a part of AIO’s Advance Indigeneity Campaign to change the misperceptions about Native Americans, to share accurate American history, to build awareness about Native Americans as contemporary peoples and to promote Indigenous worldviews,” the statement said.
“AIO supports Native American art, films, books, and other forms of Indigenous pop culture. Through the Advance Indigeneity Campaign, AIO continues to work at an international level with schools and universities to build innovative curriculum for and by Native peoples,” the statement continued. “We are very proud of this collaboration with AIO on the new ad campaign for Sauvage.”