Serbia awards its Gold Medal of Merit to Johnny Depp

Hollywood legend Johnny Depp was awarded with a Gold Medal of Merit of the Republic of Serbia by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for “outstanding merits in public and cultural activities, especially in the field of film art and promotion of the Republic of Serbia in the world,” during a ceremony celebrating Serbian Statehood Day in Belgrade, Serbia.

Upon receiving the decoration, Depp responded, “I truly, sincerely thank you, President Vucic, and this medal of merit, if I am given the honor to walk away with this, I thank you for being kind enough to bestow it upon me.”

“I’m right now on the verge of a new life and I like it, I like a re-beginning. And I would love for that beginning to start here,” the actor said.

The Academy Award-nominated who has been involved with a number of projects out of the country as of late, having shot scenes in Belgrade for ‘Minimata’ and voicing a lead character in the animated series ‘Puffins’, which is produced in Serbia, said that receiving the medal marked ‘an extremely proud moment’ in his life.

Johnny Depp has been enshrouded in controversy last year after he received a lifetime achievement award, which drew severe backlash from feminist organizations.

The actor had also lost a libel suit against UK tabloid The Sun after the paper described him as a “wife-beater” based on accusations of alleged ‘verbal and physical abuse’ by his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Depp has denied the allegations and claims they are all a “hoax” designed by Heard, but nevertheless, he has been essentially ‘canceled’ as a result.

The actor has lost several Hollywood roles over his much-publicized divorce, notably his lucrative role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise in the aftermath of the case and was ultimately replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.

Last year Depp won the right to proceed with a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard in the US.

Depp said he had become a victim of rampant cancel culture, was concerned about the wider implications for society.

The actor warned that ‘no one is safe’ and urged those affected to ‘stand up’ for themselves. 

“It’s so far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe – not one of you, not anyone out that door,” Depp told reporters at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival in September, where he received a lifetime achievement award. 

“No one is safe, as long as someone is willing to say one sentence.”

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