Katie Hopkins has made a parting shot at Australian authorities, telling them they ‘cannot silence the truth’ after she was deported for ‘joking’ about breaching quarantine rules.
The former Apprentice star, 46, was today deported from Australia after mocking hotel quarantine rules and calling Covid lockdowns the ‘greatest hoax in human history.’
But in a huge backlash from Australians, the commentator had her ‘critical skills’ visa torn up by the federal government and was handed a $1,000 (£536) fine for answering the door of her room in quarantine naked and without a face mask in violation of quarantine rules.
Before she boarded a Singapore Airlines flight from Sydney at 3pm, Hopkins told supporters: ‘See you in the morning, my lovelies.
‘You may “deport” the Hopkins, but you cannot silence the truth. We will fight to TAKE BACK our freedoms.’
Bitter: Far-right provocateur Katie Hopkins has tried to claim her humiliating deportation from Australia as a victory, telling her supporters on Instagram she will never be ‘silenced’ after being sent back to the UK for joking about breaching hotel quarantine in Sydney
Deported: Controversial British commentator Katie Hopkins (pictured), 46, boarded a Singapore Airlines flight from Sydney at 3pm on Monday
Hours earlier she’d been deported from Australia after ‘joking’ about breaching hotel quarantine rules and calling Covid lockdowns the ‘greatest hoax in human history.’
Australia has enforced strict border closures since the start of the pandemic, with tickets into the country rationed and all arrivals forced to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine in their city of arrival along with repeat testing before being allowed in.
Sydney and Victoria state are also in lockdown with 25 million Australians under stay-at-home orders in response to outbreaks of the highly-infectious Delta strain.
Victoria extend its lockdown beyond the initial Tuesday end date and NSW will be shut down until at least July 30.
It is not clear when exactly Victoria will be allowed to resume normal life, with a further announcement due tomorrow.
Hopkins had flown in to Australia last week and was placed into 14-day isolation in Sydney ahead of an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother.
But during her stay in a hotel room, she shared an Instagram Live video in which she joked about deliberately breaking Covid rules by opening her door naked and mask-free to the workers who deliver her food.
Controversial: Hopkins did not wear her mask properly as she went though security at Sydney Airport
Hopkins had flown in to Australia last week to appear on Celebrity Big Brother after finishing her mandatory 14-day quarantine. She is pictured leaving the country
How Katie Hopkins rose to fame on BBC’s The Apprentice to become a media personality
Katie Hopkins is a well-known media personality and commentator in Britain who rose to fame on The Apprentice in 2007 and soon became an outspoken household name, writing in several newspapers.
The 46-year-old mother-of-two finished as runner-up in the 15th series of the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother in 2015, becoming popular among some for her no-nonsense attitude, and loathed by others for her controversial comments.
Hopkins is known for her contentious views on race, sex, class, obesity and migration – and in recent months has criticised the Black Lives Matter movement as well as Covid-19 lockdowns.
She once had a popular radio show on LBC, but stepped away after writing on Twitter that a ‘final solution’ was needed to deal with terrorists. Many thought this was a reference to the Holocaust.
Hopkins also lost a libel case against food blogger Jack Monroe which saw her pay out £24,000 in damages after suggesting they backed the defacing a war memorial during a protest in London.
Donald Trump once described her in 2015 on Twitter as a ‘respected columnist’ after she backed the former US president’s claims that parts of London had become so radicalised that people were scared to visit.
Hopkins was permanently banned from Twitter in June 2020.
‘The police officer who checked me in told me when they knock on my door I have to wait 30 seconds until I can open the door,’ she said while breaking out into hysterics.
Hopkins said she was ‘lying in wait’ to ‘spring [the door] open and frighten the s*** out of them and do it naked with no face mask.’
After the comments sparked huge backlash, Channel Seven dropped Hopkins from the show and her visa was cancelled.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said on Monday morning: ‘I hadn’t heard of her before and I don’t want to hear about her ever again.
‘I thought it was just shameful, the fact that she was out there boasting about breaching quarantine was just appalling,’ she told the ABC.
‘It was a slap in the face for all those Australians who are currently in lockdown and it’s just unacceptable behaviour.’
Some 12 million Australians in Victoria and Greater Sydney are in lockdown over an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant which began on June 16.
Under one of the toughest Covid border policies in the world, Australia has banned tourists and is only allowing 3,035 people a week to enter the country via 14-day hotel quarantine, leaving 40,000 Aussies stranded overseas.
But foreigners with critical skills visas are not always included in the cap because they are deemed to bring ‘economic benefit’ to the country.
‘There are very well established processes and procedures for people to enter this country and many decisions are made on the basis of economic benefit,’ Ms Andrews said.
Critical skills visas are for sectors ‘critical to Australia’s economic recovery’ including financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film, media and television production and emerging technology.
The minister said her department approved Hopkins’ visa at the request of the New South Wales government.
‘It was the State Government that came to us with an application to bring in this individual to effectively increase the economic opportunities in that particular State,’ she said.
Facing criticism that celebrities are being prioritised over Australians seeking to return, Ms Andrews said the federal government wants to increase the arrival cap which was halved last month at the request of Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia state governments.
Hopkins (pictured at Sydney Airport) was told to leave the country after she joked about breaching quarantine rules
Hopkins wore sunglasses as she walked into the international terminal on Monday afternoon
Ms Andrews praised the Australian Border Force for dealing with Hopkins’ visa revocation swiftly over the weekend.
‘As soon as we found out about her behaviour and the fact that she was out there openly flaunting our quarantine system here, we took pretty strong action as quickly as we possibly could to get that visa cancelled, and to make sure she would be leaving country,’ she said.
Hopkins rose to fame after starring on The Apprentice in the UK in 2007 and is known for her contentious views on race, sex, class, obesity and migration.
Channel Seven confirmed she has been booted from Celebrity Big Brother.
A spokesman told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday: ‘Seven Network and Endemol Shine Australia confirm that Katie Hopkins is not part of Big Brother VIP.
‘Seven and Endemol Shine strongly condemn her irresponsible and reckless comments in hotel quarantine.’
Leaving Australia: Hopkins carried her own luggage into the Airport after being dropped off by quarantine staff
On Sunday, the hosts of Channel 10 show The Project slammed Seven for its decision to hire Hopkins.
Jan Fran, a comedian and regular panellist on the show, said: ‘What was someone expecting when they did hire Katie Hopkins to do this? She’s a troll. She courts controversy. They knew that is what she would bring to the Big Brother house.’
Fran went on to express disgust over Hopkins’ use of the term ‘Final Solution’, which referred to the mass murder of Europe’s Jews during the Holocaust.
Her co-host Peter van Onselen agreed: ‘They want controversy but maybe didn’t think it would lead as far as this.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said of Hopkins: ‘I hadn’t heard of her before and I don’t want to hear about her ever again’. Pictured: Hopkins at Sydney Airport
‘She will go back to the UK and complain about us and build her brand locally off what we’ve done even though what we’ve done is the right thing.’
‘Don’t you think this is what Channel Seven wanted? It cost them, how much is an economy ticket from the UK, $150,000?’ Lisa Wilkinson chimed in, joking.
‘That’s all it’s cost them which is cheaper than a marketing budget’.
It was at 5am on Saturday that Hopkins took to Instagram live to post a speech where she ‘called out’ the lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne and threatened to answer her hotel door naked.
Hopkins (pictured at Sydney Airport) has criticised lockdowns and mask wearing during the Covid-19 pandemic
On Sunday she denied she broke quarantine rules in Sydney, writing on Instagram that it was just a joke.
‘WARNING: EXTREME HUMOUR. I have never broken quarantine,’ she wrote in her caption.
‘My whole heart goes out to Australians and this brilliant country known for sense of humour. Families MUST be reunited.
‘Auzzies [sic] need the dignity of work and lockdown is the Greatest Hoax in Human History. Do not give up my darlings. Bring Australians home,’ she added.
Hopkins often makes posts mocking mask mandates and lockdowns on Instagram since being banned from Twitter in June last year for ‘hateful conduct’
Australia’s response to Covid-19 has been praised by scientists including top US medic Dr Anthony Fauci, who called the country a world leader on ‘containment and management of emerging variants’.
The country, which is geographically isolated and enjoys a low population density, has used border closures and snap lockdowns to reduce community transmission to zero.
Australia has suffered only 914 deaths due to Covid-19, compared with 129,000 in the UK and 608,000 in the US.
Hopkins described her antics as a ‘game’ but other travellers stuck in hotel quarantine were outraged by her behaviour.
Posting to the Facebook group ‘Australians in quarantine facilities’ one user wrote: ‘This is abhorrent…some people are racing against time with the quarantine trying to get to family members. This is really cruel and sick.’
’Anyone else who has just returned home like me, too ashamed to admit how ashamed I am of my own country right now?’ wrote another traveller.
‘What has happened to Aussie spirit, our heart, mates looking after mates, the Govt caring about its own people. Has it been lost over the last few years?
‘It makes my blood boil that so many fellow Aussies are stranded and cannot get home yet we can waste seats and hotel rooms on actors etc.’
Members of the closed group ‘Australians in quarantine facilities’ vent their outrage
Questioned: Many travellers in quarantine questioned why Hopkins was allowed to fly into the country while Australians are stranded overseas
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who famously threatened to euthanise Johnny Depps dogs when he sneaked them into Australia in 2015, said Hopkins should be sent home.
He told ABC’s Insiders: ‘I’m the one who wanted to send home Johnny Depp’s dogs home so I have no problem sending home someone who wants to flout our laws.
‘If you want to do that, pack your bongos and get out of the country.’
Acting Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Andrew Giles criticised the decision to grant Hopkins a visa in the first place.
‘Now that Ms Hopkins is in Australia, she has begun broadcasting from what described as ‘VIP Quarantine’, and has explained how she is opening up her hotel door naked and without a face mask in a deliberate attempt to breach hotel quarantine rules.’ Mr Giles said.
‘This is grossly disrespectful to frontline workers who are only trying to keep us safe.’
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said on ABC’s Insiders: ‘I’m the one who wanted to send home Johnny Depp’s dogs home so I have no problem sending home someone who wants to flout our laws’
Hopkins often takes to Instagram to mock lockdowns and mask mandates.
In a video uploaded to the social media platform on Friday, filmed from her hotel quarantine, Ms Hopkins described lockdowns as ‘the greatest hoax in history’.
‘You are living through the greatest hoax in human history, they are trying to take everything from you, and one of the very best and most powerful weapons we have is a sense of humour, and someone like me is probably a massive thorn in their sides,’ she said.
In the bizarre video, she said: ‘We’ve just heard that there’s been a new variant, Delta plus, and you have to be very, very afraid of it.
She then lifted up a sanitary towel in the air and added: ‘All politicians are about as useful as a tampon on a tranny.’
Controversial: In a video uploaded to the social media platform on Friday, filmed from her hotel quarantine, Ms Hopkins described the lockdown as ‘the greatest hoax in history’