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Hollywood actor Johnny Depp was awarded a medal of honor by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic during a Statehood Day ceremony in Belgrade on Tuesday. The medal was awarded 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,” according to Balkan Insight.

“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,” said Depp upon receiving the award. “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.”

Depp has participated in several projects connected to Serbia in recent years, having shot scenes in Belgrade for ‘Minimata’ and voicing a lead character in the animated series ‘Puffins’, which is produced in the country.

The actor was at the center of controversy last year after he received a lifetime achievement award, which drew backlash from feminist organizations. Depp had lost a libel suit against UK tabloid The Sun after the paper branded the movie star a “wife-beater” based on allegations from 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. He has lost several Hollywood roles over his heated divorce, notably being axed from the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequels. He has since warned that “no one is safe” from cancel culture.

“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."

“It takes one sentence, and then there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled,” he warned. “It’s not just me that this has happened to. It’s happened to a lot of people... Sadly, at a certain point, they begin to think that it’s normal, or that it’s them, when it’s not.”

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