Canadian actress Tanaya Beatty is speaking about appearing with Johnny Depp in a controversial First Nations-themed ad campaign for Dior that was pulled after the fashion brand was accused of cultural appropriation.
Last week, Dior teased the campaign for its new fragrance, Sauvage, in a brief clip shared on social media, featuring Rosebud Sioux dancer Canku Thomas One Star performing the tribe’s Fancy War Dance.
In a subsequent post, Dior shared more photos from the campaign, explaining it was “developed as a close collaboration between the House of Dior and Native American consultants from the 50-year old Indigenous advocacy organization, Americans for Indian Opportunity, in order to respect Indigenous cultures, values and heritage.”
In addition, Dior posted a behind-the-scenes video of the campaign featuring Johnny Depp, the face of Dior, with Native American consultants discussing why it was key that the campaign avoid cultural appropriation.
Despite all these efforts, the posts were still accused of using indigenous culture to sell Dior’ sfragrance, leading the company to slam the breaks on the campaign after being accused of cultural appropriation.
On Sunday, Beatty issued a series of statement in a pair of Instagram posts, titled “Just Ad Indian,” admitting she felt conflicted during filming, “witnessing as a company blatantly disrespected indigenous culture.”
The 28-year-old actress, who is of Da’naxda’xw tribe descent, added: “When we filmed it, I could only hope that it would start the conversation it now has.”
Her intention, she explained, “is not to shame Dior or call out Johnny Depp. The issues are far bigger than any advertisement. And having worked with them, I do believe Dior — though misguided — had every intention of showing indigenous culture in a beautiful light while giving jobs to some Indians in the process.”
Beatty also revealed she would be making a donation to inter-tribal environmental non-profit, and encouraged the company and her co-star to do the same. “And… perhaps I’d even encourage a certain perfume company and a certain beloved pirate to make a donation as well. Just sayin’,” Beatty wrote.
Beatty continued by detailing some of the varied indignities she has experienced as a First Nations actor. “On set, I’ve had my hair touched, been told I am too native looking, not native looking enough, been asked to be naked, been told I need more fake blood on my face to look like I’ve been really raped, been touched inappropriately, been called slurs, and been told by someone that they didn’t know natives still [existed],” she wrote.
“Throughout the history of Natives in film, we’ve been made a spectacle,” she added. “Marginalized, fetishized, used as a backdrop.”
You can read her powerful statement in its entirety in the Instagram posts below: