British far-right commentator Katie Hopkins will be deported from Australia after her visa was cancelled amid outrage over her “despicable” behaviour in Sydney’s hotel quarantine.
Channel Seven dropped the controversial identity from its Big Brother VIP TV show after she claimed to be breaking quarantine rules in her hotel room.
Hopkins posted, then later deleted, an Instagram video where she claimed to be intentionally opening doors in hotel quarantine while naked and not wearing a mask in an attempt to “frighten the s–t out of” workers delivering her meals.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told ABC News Breakfast on Monday morning Ms Hopkins’s visa had been cancelled.
“We will be getting her out of the country as soon as we can arrange that,” she said.
“I am hoping that will happen imminently.”
In a statement, Channel Seven condemned Hopkins’ behaviour and said she was not a part of the TV show after federal politicians united in a unanimous outcry over her “despicable” claims of trying to breach hotel quarantine protocols while in Sydney.
“It is despicable that anyone would behave in such a way that puts our health officials and community at risk,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said in a statement.
In her since-deleted Instagram video, Ms Hopkins also claimed COVID lockdowns were the “greatest hoax in human history” and was critical of New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victoria’s Daniel Andrews.
It is understood that she flew into Australia to film the Big Brother VIP reality TV show for Seven.
The television network wouldn’t confirm on Sunday whether she had ever been part of the show, but released a statement on Sunday afternoon to distance itself from Hopkins.
“Seven Network and Endemol Shine Australia confirm that Katie Hopkins is not part of Big Brother VIP,” a Seven spokesperson said.
“Seven and Endemol Shine strongly condemn her irresponsible and reckless comments in hotel quarantine.”
When asked whether Hopkins had ever been part of the Big Brother filming, the Seven spokesperson did not deny this but responded “there’ll be no further comment”.
Guardian Australia later reported that Seven had dropped Ms Hopkins from the program for breaching her contract.
NSW granted an exemption
Health Minister Greg Hunt called her actions “dangerous and irresponsible”, and alluded to reports that she had been admitted to Australia to film the TV show.
“My view is, personally, if the stories are accurate, instead of Big Brother watching Katie Hopkins, Katie Hopkins should be watching Big Brother from a long, long way away,” Mr Hunt said.
He said she had been granted an exemption to enter NSW “at the request of the relevant jurisdiction and the media organisation”.
TND contacted Hopkins several times for comment. In her Instagram videos, filmed inside a Sydney quarantine hotel, Hopkins referred to her stay as “Oz-Catraz”, seemingly a reference to the Alcatraz Island prison near San Francisco.
Reaction to Hopkins’ video was swift and furious on Sunday.
Hopkins, a former newspaper columnist and TV host, has regularly courted controversy after numerous incendiary comments with far-right views on race and immigration.
In 2017, she called for a “final solution” after the Manchester Arena bombing attack.
She has also compared migrants to “cockroaches”, called for gunships to be used to block migrant boats, and was detained in South Africa for “spreading racial hatred”.
In June 2020, she was permanently suspended from Twitter for “violations of our hateful conduct policy”.
Border Force to investigate
In a statement to The New Daily on Sunday morning, Minister Andrews said she had ordered Border Force to investigate.
“I have directed Australian Border Force to immediately consider the facts of this matter and urgently review whether this individual is complying with the requirements of her visa,” Ms Andrews said.
Ms Andrews’ office had no further comment on Hopkins’ immigration status on Sunday night.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke tweeted that “temporary visa holders must obey public health orders”.
“Where visa conditions are breached, individuals may face visa cancellation in accordance with the law,” he said.
‘Pack your bongo’
Speaking on the ABC’s Insiders program, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was also critical.
“I have no problem sending home someone who wants to flout our laws. If you want to do that, pack your bongo and get out of country,” he said.
The federal Labor opposition and Greens said she should never have been allowed in the country in the first place.
“This is grossly disrespectful to front-line workers who are only trying to keep us safe,” Labor’s acting home affairs spokesperson Andrew Giles said on Saturday.
Greens spokesperson for anti-racism Mehreen Faruqi called it “rage-inducing” and “a new low”, contrasting how Hopkins had been allowed into the country while thousands of Australians overseas were still struggling to get home.
Labor MP Josh Burns called on the federal government to “cancel her visa and send her on the next plane out of Australia”.
Mr Giles was angry that Hopkins had been given a spot in hotel quarantine in Australia while many Australians were blocked from entering or leaving the country due to border closures.
“The decision by Mr Morrison’s government to allow Ms Hopkins into the country is particularly painful for the 35,000 Australians who remain stranded overseas, including Australian children trapped in India without their parents,” he said.
“Ms Hopkins should have never been allowed into the country, and now that Ms Hopkins is openly breaching quarantine restrictions, Mr Morrison must take responsibility for his failure.”
Federal government sources said it was the NSW government that would have granted the entry exemption, not the Commonwealth.