Johnny Depp, who tentatively claims he is probably part Native American, plays Tonto to Armie Hammer’s Lone Ranger in the Walt Disney movie that opened on July 3.
Both Depp’s race and his costume, which includes inaccuracies such as full-time war paint and a dead crow as headgear, has generated some controversy.
To wit, one Facebook friend of the writer posted, “All the racist a-holes who were upset that Rue was played by a black actress in the Hunger Games are furious about Johnny Depp playing Tonto, right? Right??”
Social media users’ chief weapon appears to be silence. According to the social marketing firm Fizziology, the film has earned just one-ninth the mentions of “Despicable Me 2.”
“Despicable Me” has also generated more favorable conversation on Facebook and Twitter. It had nearly 75 percent positive mentions and almost no negative mentions.
For the Lone Ranger, just 55 percent of the chatter Fizziology analyzed was favorable and 10 percent was negative. Among the negative mentions, more than a third were criticisms of Depp’s role as Tonto.
“Every time I see promotions for The Lone Ranger I just think ‘So…we’re all just going to let Johnny Depp do that?'” wrote one user cited by Fizziology.
“Hey, so apparently Disney is selling a bunch of gross “Native American” sh-t for the Lone Ranger movie, so I encourage everyone to boycott this movie and everything being sold in relation to it,” wrote another.
SocialTimes found some additional references with similar sentiments:
Depp’s Tonto ‘A Major Setback for the Native American Image,’ Says Expert: http://t.co/bwpAPx06FG
— Simon Moya-Smith (@IAmNotAMascot) July 3, 2013
The working title for what eventually became “The Lone Ranger” was “Johnny Depp Does Whatever The Hell He Wants.”
— Uncle Dynamite (@UncleDynamite) June 12, 2013
Ecstatic American Indians Praise ‘The Lone Ranger’ | ‘Finally Our Story Is Being Told,’ Tribespeople Say http://t.co/owyhOQCVIv
— The Onion (@TheOnion) June 19, 2013