Australia — Was the filmed apology over an international dog smuggling scandal supposed to look like a hostage video? Was the weirdly wooden delivery a deliberate protest by the unhappy actors? And does the Australian politician at the heart of the world's most bizarre biosecurity case think he could have directed it better himself?
Well, yes — at least to the last question — Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said on Tuesday when asked about the widely panned videotaped apology from Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard.
"I don't think he'll get an Academy Award for his performance ... he looked like he was auditioning for The Godfather," Joyce told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio with a chuckle. "At the end of it, we've got a message that is going all around the world right now — it's going off like a frog in a sock — telling people that if you come into this nation and you don't obey our laws, you're in trouble."
On Monday, Heard pleaded guilty in a Queensland state court to falsifying her incoming passenger card by failing to disclose that she had the pooches with her, but avoided a prison sentence.
During the hearing, her lawyer submitted the couple's now infamous taped apology to the court.
The clip quickly began trending on Twitter, with many — including comedian Ricky Gervais — comparing it to a hostage video. Others questioned whether the couple's awkward delivery was a deliberate swipe at the Australian government.
Check out some of the tweets here:
The Johnny Depp apology feels like a hostage video.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 18, 2016
The Johnny Depp apology feels like a hostage video.
That apology video to Australia by Amber Heard and Johnny Deep pic.twitter.com/pBxpSjiKxs— Stella (@storacle) April 18, 2016
That apology video to Australia by Amber Heard and Johnny Deep pic.twitter.com/pBxpSjiKxs
Johnny Deep and Amber Heard's videotaped apology for smuggling dogs into Australia looks like a hostage video. https://t.co/8SMv3UiUf4— Eric Deggans at NPR (@Deggans) April 18, 2016
Johnny Deep and Amber Heard's videotaped apology for smuggling dogs into Australia looks like a hostage video. https://t.co/8SMv3UiUf4
The Johnny Deep apology video looks like it was filmed at gun point #johnnydeppapology ????— Jäger-master (@GeorgePurves14) April 18, 2016
The Johnny Deep apology video looks like it was filmed at gun point #johnnydeppapology ????
i can't even watch that johnny & amber apology video because i know i'll be ass deep in second hand embarrassment...— ?ga?? (@agatacrusty) April 18, 2016
i can't even watch that johnny & amber apology video because i know i'll be ass deep in second hand embarrassment...
Joyce sidestepped questions about the origins of the video on Monday, saying he didn't know if the agriculture department had helped with the script. The department later confirmed it had "provided input concerning the offense and biosecurity messaging," but said the video came about after Heard herself offered to publicly apologise for the incident.
The video's production was part of negotiations between her defense team and the prosecution, the department said in a statement.
Still, Joyce acknowledged the couple was likely less than enthusiastic about the project.
"I don't think it would have been something that they would have willingly wanted to do," Joyce told reporters.
Click here to watch the video.
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