A clip of the promotion, called ‘We are the Land’, was posted on Dior’s social media accounts on Friday. The teaser shows Depp, clad in a poncho, shredding on an electric guitar as a Native American, decked out in full ceremonial garb, performs a tribal dance.
In an apparent attempt to preempt internet outrage over alleged ‘cultural appropriation’, Dior noted that the spot was filmed with the help of Native American consultants. In a caption to a now-deleted Instagram post, the company wrote that the film was made in “close collaboration” with Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) “in order to respect Indigenous cultures, values and heritage.”
However, what some would argue was the brand’s attempt at preemptive damage control did little to help Dior escape the internet’s wrath, spurred by accusations of cultural appropriation and outright racism.
There were also those who came to Depp’s and Dior’s defense, noting that the perfume is said to have been inspired by Christian Dior’s friend, Australian fashion publicist Percy Savage, hence its peculiar name. ‘Eau Sauvage’ was introduced by the perfumery line of the famed fashion house back in 1966, long before the online cultural wars began.
Others argued that neither the creators of the ad, nor Depp – an honorary member of the Comanche Nation since 2013 – did anything wrong, with the ad itself being a powerful homage to Native Americans.