Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has directed Border Force to “urgently review” the visa of British right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins, who boasted in elaborate detail about breaking hotel quarantine rules on social media.
The media personality is quarantining in a Sydney hotel ahead of a now-axed role in the upcoming season of Big Brother, broadcast by the Seven Network.
On Saturday morning, she told Instagram followers that she had been trying to flout restrictions in her hotel by answering her door naked and without a face mask.
“The police officer who checked me in told me when they knock on my door I have to wait 30 seconds ’til I can open the door. Then I can open the door but only if I wear a face mask,” she said in a now-deleted Instagram video.
“What I want is the sergeant in the foyer to come up and tell me off so that I can stand there naked while he tells me off!”
On Sunday afternoon, the Seven Network confirmed Ms Hopkins was no longer attached to the show.
“Seven and Endemol Shine strongly condemn her irresponsible and reckless comments in hotel quarantine,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
On Sunday morning, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews confirmed in a statement Ms Hopkin’s case was being reviewed.
“It is despicable that anyone would behave in such a way that puts our health officials and community at risk,” she said.
“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.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters Ms Hopkins’ border exemption came at the request of the Seven Network and did not count towards the existing cap on arrivals.
He discussed the case with Minister Andrews on Saturday and described Ms Hopkins’s alleged actions as “dangerous, irresponsible and apparently deliberate”.
“Right now, in my view, if the facts are born out, of deliberately exposing someone to potential contact with a person who has not completed quarantine, then the strongest action should be taken,” he told reporters.
“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.”
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he had no issue deporting Ms Hopkins if she was found to have broken infection control rules.
“I’m the one who wanted to send home Johnny Depp’s dog, so I have no problem sending home someone who wants to flout our laws,” he told the ABC.
“If you want to do that, pack your bongo and get out of country!”
During the lengthy video on Saturday morning, Ms Hopkins railed against the New South Wales and Victorian Premiers, and labelled lockdowns “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.
Her arrival in the country comes as thousands of Australians remain stranded overseas, following a tightening of the international arrivals cap.
Labor’s spokesperson for Home Affairs, Andrew Giles, labelled Ms Hopkin’s comments as “grossly disrespectful to frontline workers who are only trying to keep us safe”.
“Scott Morrison’s border security controls have again been exposed following his government’s decision to allow a far-right troll into Australia, who is now boasting about her efforts to breach hotel quarantine rules,” he said.
Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi described Ms Hopkin’s arrival as a “new low”.
“Thousands of families remain separated from their loved ones overseas. But Katie Hopkins is deemed important enough to get through the system,” she said.
“What’s worse, Hopkins is making a mockery of our hotel quarantine system by openly flouting the rules and bragging about it on social media. This is just rage-inducing stuff from start to finish,” she said.
The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network has written to the Prime Minister and the Home Affairs Minister, asking if a character test was carried out before she was granted a visa.
“The decision to allow Katie Hopkins into Australia for a public-facing purpose is highly controversial and should have triggered a serious character assessment,” solicitor Rita Jabri-Markwell wrote.
“Hopkins has socialised and mainstreamed the conspiracy theory of an ‘Islamic invasion’ and ‘Islamic takeover’
to broad public audiences, heightening the risk to families and communities who experience hate speech,
harassment and threats in public places and other forms of hate crime.”
“Hate speech has real consequences and is not protected speech.”
Ms Hopkins, formerly a prominent columnist for The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers, was sacked from her radio show in 2017 after using the term “final solution” in response to the Manchester Arena Bombing.
She has also compared migrants to cockroaches and claimed people with dementia should not “block hospital beds”.
Her Twitter account – with 1.1 million followers – was permanently banned in June 2020 for repeatedly violating their terms of service.
Ms Hopkins narrowly avoided bankruptcy in 2019 after losing a costly libel case to a food writer.