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LONDON — Johnny Depp has been no fan of President Donald Trump, but the Hollywood star took his rhetoric up a level when he raised the prospect of the president being killed.
“When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” he asked a cheering crowd at the Glastonbury music festival in the U.K. on Thursday night. “Now I want to clarify, I am not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it’s been awhile and maybe it’s time.”
The Secret Service said it was aware of Depp's comment. Threats against the president are considered a crime under U.S. law and punishable by fine or time in prison.
“For security reasons, we cannot discuss specifically nor in general terms the means and methods of how we perform our protective responsibilities,” the Secret Service said in a statement.
A White House official said Friday: "President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and it's sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. I hope that some of Mr. Depp’s colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would if his comments were directed to a Democrat elected official."
Depp seemed to be referring to John Wilkes Booth, the actor who murdered President Abraham Lincoln.
Depp made the remarks while introducing a screening of his 2004 film "The Libertine."
He started by suggesting Trump “needs help."
"By the way, this is going to be in the press. It’ll be horrible, but I like that you are all a part of it,” the actor said, seeming to realize that his comments would be controversial.
Depp later said in a statement to Peoplemagazine that it was a "bad joke."
"It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone."
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star has been previously critical of Trump, calling him a “brat” during an appearance at Arizona State University last year.
Rachel Elbaum and Emma Ong reported from London. Ron Simeone reported from Washington, D.C.