Australia has cancelled the visa of British commentator Katie Hopkins after she deliberately disobeyed COVID-19 protocols while in hotel quarantine in Sydney.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said on Monday.
Hopkins was brought to Australia to join Network Seven’s reality television programme “Big Brother VIP’’, with her visa granted on the basis of economic benefit.
She was dropped from the programme after she boasted about flouting hotel quarantine rules in a video posted on Instagram, Australian news agency AAP reported.
“Seven Network and Endemol Shine Australia confirmed that Katie Hopkins is not part of Big Brother VIP.
“Seven and Endemol Shine strongly condemn her irresponsible and reckless comments in hotel quarantine,’’ a statement cited by local media said.
In the since-deleted video, she told her followers that she was trying to open her door to guards naked and not wearing a mask to call out Australia’s quarantine system and lockdowns she called the greatest hoax in human history, the local media reported.
“As soon as we can possibly have her out of the country she will be gone,’’ Andrews told radio programme RN Breakfast.
“The fact that she was out there boasting about breaching quarantine was just appalling,’’ Andrews said.
“It was a slap in the face for all those Australians who are currently in lockdown, and its just unacceptable behaviour.’’
The minister said Hopkins’ visa was cancelled, adding that she didn’t know specifically when the Briton would be leaving but she was certainly on my radar to make sure she leaves as soon as we can possibly have her out of the country.
Andrews appeared to shift the blame for Hopkins coming to Australia on the state of New South Wales, NSW, though the Federal Government was ultimately responsible for issuing visas.
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said film and television production companies routinely submitted visa applications as long as arriving passengers entered the country safely.
It covered their quarantine costs and did not take the place of returning Australians, their requests were usually granted.
The commentator’s arrival in Australia sparked a major backlash in the country.
This was recently halved the cap on the number of Australian citizens and residents allowed to return from abroad amid a surge of cases of Coronavirus which led to lockdowns in Sydney and Melboune.
Australia’s borders have been closed since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with some exceptions.
A cap on international arrivals was first set in July 2020.
At the moment, the cap is set at just more than 3,000 people per week, with thousands of Australians still waiting to return home.
Hopkins was well known in Britain for courting controversy.
She was permanently banned from Twitter in 2020 for breaching the hateful conduct policy.
Hopkins has described migrants as cockroaches, labeled Islam repugnant and called for a final solution in response to a terror attack.