The vast majority of Americans see nothing wrong in casting Johnny Depp as the Native American character Tonto
Last week, Disney released an updated version of the Lone Ranger starring Armie Hammer as the Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto. While the movie's lackluster performance at the box office may be more concerning to the film makers, the casting of the white actor Depp as a Native American character has also caused controversy in some circles.
New research from YouGov shows that the vast majority of Americans don't mind Johnny Depp playing Tonto. When asked whether it was acceptable for the white Depp to play the Native American Tonto, 72% of American say it is. Only 11% say it is not acceptable.
Americans also express a race-blind attitude to the casting in general. 66% say that the race of actor doesn't matter to them, while 27% would prefer that a Native American actor play the Native American character.
In the past, Tonto has been played by actors both white and Native American. In the original radio serial, Tonto was voiced by the Irish-American John Todd, while in the television series, Tonto was portrayed by the Mohawk Jay Silverheels. Depp has been vocal about the fact he is playing a Native American, and was in fact adopted as an honorary member of the Comanche Nation before the film was released.