British right-wing extremist Katie Hopkins has been dumped as a cast member in Seven’s Big Brother VIP and will leave the country after violating his contract, Guardian Australia can reveal.
Hopkins, 46, posted a live video of what she claimed was a hotel room in Sydney on Saturday morning, describing Covid-19 lockdowns as “the biggest scam in human history” while joking about detailed plans to break quarantine rules.
On Saturday, Home Secretary Karen Andrews ordered an urgent review of whether Hopkins has violated his visa conditions by publicly rejecting quarantine rules.
But the review has been replaced by a decision to terminate her contract, Guardian Australia understands.
Talent contracts have an out-clause: do not bring the network into dishonesty.
It is also a requirement of any foreign personality to comply with the visa requirements.
Seven confirmed the decision Sunday afternoon.
“Seven Network and Endemol Shine Australia confirm that Katie Hopkins is not part of the Big Brother VIP,” the network said. “Seven and Endemol Shine strongly condemn her irresponsible and ruthless comments in hotel quarantine.”
Hopkins was contracted to Shine rather than Seven.
Last year, Hopkins had his Twitter account with 1.1 million. Supporters permanently suspended for violating the platform’s “hate behavior” policy.
Hopkins, who was repeatedly retweeted by former US President Donald Trump, was removed to “protect Twitter” according to the social media platform.
Hopkins compared former migrants to cockroaches, claiming that the photograph of a dead Syrian boy lying on a beach that unleashed a wave of compassion across Europe was staged, and that people with dementia should not “block” hospital beds.
The production company, which produces Big Brother VIP, Endemol Shine Australia and Channel Seven, struggled on Sunday to respond to the growing crisis that threatened to overshadow the broadcast of the Tokyo Olympics, which starts at seven on Friday.
Seven has reserved hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and cannot afford sponsors to withdraw due to public pressure.
Toyota, Woolworths, Optus and McDonald’s lead the list of major sponsors, while Harvey Norman, AAMI and HP are also signed. Activists on social media and the general public have begun targeting advertisers.
The government-sponsored review comes as Labor says the federal government should never have granted Hopkins a visa or border exemption in the first place, issuing a ministerial briefing outlining the minister’s powers to deny entry to anyone considered a “controversial ” visitor.
Green spokeswoman for anti-racism Mehreen Faruqi said Seven “have some serious questions to answer” about why they chose to normalize racism on Australian television.
“Hopkins should never have been offered a platform to spy on his hatred in the first place, and Seven should not be released,” Senator Faruqi said.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has also suggested that Hopkins be deported, saying that anyone who violates Australian law must “pack your bongo and get out of the country”.
Hopkins has been allowed to enter the country despite tens of thousands of Australians being stranded abroad and unable to return home due to reduced flight capsules.
The limit on the number of international arrivals arriving in Australia via commercial flights was halved from 14 July due to concerns from some state premieres about the contagion of the Delta variant of Covid-19.
Andrews said she had requested that the Australian Border Force review the case.
“It is despicable for anyone to behave in such a way as to endanger our health officials and society,” Andrews said Sunday.
“Yesterday, I instructed the Australian Border Force to immediately consider the facts of this case and immediately investigate whether this person complies with the requirements of his visa.
“The Border Force has responded to it overnight, and continues to do so today.”
She said Big Brother participants had received an exemption to enter the country “based on support from the NSW government”.
“The NSW government approved quarantine for Big Brother participants over the quarantine,” Andrews said.
Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke also said temporary visa holders were needed to “obey public health orders”.
“Where visa conditions are violated, individuals may be subject to visa cancellation in accordance with the law,” Hawke said on Twitter.
Asked whether Hopkins should remain in the country after violating quarantine rules, the deputy prime minister said he would be happy to see her deported.
“I’m the one who wanted to send Johnny Depp’s dogs home, so I have no problem sending home anyone who wants to break our laws,” Joyce told ABC.
“If you want to do that, pack your bongo and get out of the country.”
Labor’s spokeswoman Andrew Giles issued a ministerial briefing received by Andrews as she took over the portfolio, obtained through Freedom of Information Act, which outlines the powers available to the government under section 501 of the Migration Act.
The document states that the act allows the minister to cancel or deny visas to persons considered to be controversial visitors.
Giles said the minister did not use the powers available to her, accusing her of hiding behind NSW for “what is the national government’s most basic responsibility”.
Mrs Andrews was told about her powers – and responsibilities – to deal with people just like the infamous Mrs Hopkins. Why did she ignore this and endanger workers and our social cohesion? ”
The Australian Muslim Lawyer Network also criticized the move, writing to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to question whether a grade assessment had been made before her visa was granted.
“The decision to allow Katie Hopkins to enter Australia for a public purpose is very controversial and should have triggered a serious grade rating,” said the letter from AMAN’s Rita Jabri-Markwell.
Hopkins has socialized and mainstreamed the conspiracy theory of an ‘Islamic invasion’ and ‘Islamic takeover’ to a wide public audience, increasing the risk for families and communities experiencing hate speech, harassment and threats in public places and other forms of hate crime. ”