Johnny Depp Arrested, Charged Under Patriot Act-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Johnny Depp has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to assassinate the president under the Patriot Act after making controversial remarks about President Trump.
A self-described fake news website is behind false reports that Johnny Depp was arrested for conspiracy to assassinate the president and is being charged under the Patriot Act.
The rumor started at Last Line of Defense, a website that states it presents “fiction as fact’ and uses sources that “don’t actually exist,” under the headline, “BREAKING: Johnny Depp To Be Charged And Held Under The Patriot Act.” The report, which was published on June 23, 2017, begins:
You’ve probably seen Johnny Depp’s last “Pirates” movie. In fact, you’ve probably seen the last of Johnny Depp. In a shocking announcement this morning, Homeland Security announced that it had enough evidence to charge Depp with conspiracy to assassinate the President and hold him as a terrorist enemy combatant.
The report goes on to report that Johnny Depp was transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detention center after it was discovered that he was a “practicing jihadist” who had converted his apartment into a “shrine to Mohammad and Allah” and had “several copies” of the Quran on hand.
As is often the case, the Last Line of Defense report was picked up by a network of fake news websites that re-report its articles verbatim. These sites, which aren’t clearly identified as fiction or satire, make it easy for readers to mistake hoax stories for factual news, especially when shared on social media.
False reports that Johnny Depp was arrested for conspiracy to assassinate the president stemmed from actual controversial remarks that Depp made about Trump at the Glastonbury arts festival in England.
Depp asked a crowd, “Can you bring Trump here?” After the crowd booed, Depp continued, “You misunderstand completely. When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? I want to clarify: I’m not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it’s been awhile, and maybe it’s time. By the way, this is going to be in the press and it’ll be horrible,” he said. “It’s just a question; I’m not insinuating anything.”
Johnny Depp later apologized for what he described as a “bad joke” that he attempted in “poor taste about President Trump,” in a statement to People magazine, adding, “It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”
That sparked rumors that Johnny Depp was arrested for conspiracy to assassinate the president. As with previous cases of celebrities like Madonna and Kathy Griffin making controversial comments or gestures that could be perceived as threats against the president’s life, the Secret Service, FBI or another agency will likely evaluate Depp’s comments to determine his intent was to do harm to the president. If not, it will be characterized as “inappropriate,” which isn’t a crime.