Serbian President Gives Medal to Hollywood Star Johnny Depp

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday gave Hollywood star Johnny Depp a gold medal for "outstanding merits in public and cultural activities, especially in the field of film art and the promotion of the Republic of Serbia in the world".

Vucic presented the medal to Depp at a Statehood Day ceremony in the Serbian capital, and also gave honours to political representatives of Serbs in the Balkans, former fighters in the Kosovo war and others.

Depp, who has been involved in a couple of projects connected to the country in recent years, including the shooting of scenes in Belgrade for the feature film 'Minamata' and a leading role in Serbian-produced animated series 'Puffins Unlimited', said he was proud to receive the award.

"I truly, sincerely thank you, President Vucic, and this medal of merit, if I am given the honour to walk away with this, I thank you for being kind enough to bestow it upon me," Depp said.

Depp was the centre of controversy last year when the decision by Spain's San Sebastian Film Festival to give him a lifetime achievement award was criticised by women's rights groups after the actor lost his libel case against a newspaper that published allegations that he assaulted his ex-wife.

Depp was also warmly welcomed in Serbia in 2010 when he visited the Kustendorf film festival and met the president at the time, Boris Tadic.

A Tuesday's ceremony, the country's highest award, Order of the Republic of Serbia, was given to Zeljka Cvijanovic, the president of Republika Srpska, the Serb-majority part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"For a politician, a representative of the citizens of the Republika Srpska, there is no greater honour or recognition than the one that fraternal Serbia can show," Cvijanovic...

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