Australian minister mocks Depp video

SYDNEY • Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce yesterday mocked Hollywood star Johnny Depp's acting skills in a video recorded with his wife as an apology for breaking the country's strict quarantine laws.

Mr Joyce, who is also Agriculture Minister, sparked global headlines last year when he threatened to have the couple's two pet dogs put down unless they returned back to the United States.

Actress Amber Heard avoided jail time on Monday over allegations that she had illegally brought two Yorkshire terriers into Australia last year while visiting her husband, Depp.

In court in the Gold Coast on Monday, the couple handed over the video acknowledging their transgression and urging others to obey the law, which is intended to prevent the spread of rabies and other diseases.

"Australia is a wonderful island with a treasure trove of unique animals, plants and people," Heard said.

Depp said: "It has to be protected." He added that Australians are unique, both warm and direct, "and when you disrespect Australian law, they will tell you firmly".

The department of agriculture put the video on YouTube and Mr Joyce said it had already registered more than two million hits.

The stiff video brought giggles on social media, where it was compared with a hostage plea or North Korean-style propaganda.

Mr Joyce could not resist taking another dig at Depp. "I don't think he'll get an Academy Award for his performance... he looked like he was auditioning for The Godfather," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'Australian minister mocks Depp video'. Print Edition | Subscribe