Despite backlash, Depp and Heard’s biosecurity message ‘sinking in’

A video showing Hollywood couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard apologising for breaking Australia’s quarantine laws “clearly broadcasts the importance of biosecurity” to the country, a Melbourne-based analyst said.


Andrew Robinson, the Deputy Director of Melbourne University’s Centre for Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA), said even in the midst of a social media backlash mocking the apology, its message reinforces Australia’s strict customs laws.

“It seems to me that if people are parodying the video, they’re thinking about the content,” he said. “They’re reflecting on the consequences of the mistake these two individuals have made. 

“No doubt the message is sinking in, and the more parodied it is, the more broadcast the message is.”

In the video, Depp and Heard apologise for illegally bringing their dogs Pistol and Boo into the country last year when Depp was filming on the Gold Coast.

 Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the couple communicated with the Department of Agriculture about the recording, which he shared online after Ms Heard’s appearance in a Queensland court.  The reaction on social media has been brutal, with many comparing it to a hostage video.The Johnny Depp apology feels like a hostage video.

— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 18, 2016The Heard/Depp video is now the best hostage thriller of 2016. I feel compelled to give it a star rating.

— Marc Fennell (@marcfennell) April 18, 2016Uncropped footage from the Johnny #Depp and Amber #Heard Australian apology video. Makes sense now! #dogs #doggate pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/S37Zio44MA

— Jonathan Davies (@jmdllani) April 18, 2016The Simpsons Australia episode has basically become true #Depp pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/QWLeNTx08U

— Neil Richards (@neilrich75) April 18, 2016

Youtube star Natalie Tran took the “hostage” angle one step further by editing herself into a version of video where she waves a fake gun and holds cue cards off-camera.

It ends with Tran saying, “I think people will think we’re real friendly.”

Mr Joyce said the apology will serve as an effective educational tool.

“We’ve got a message that is going around the world right now,” he said. “It’s going off like a frog in a sock, telling people if you come into this nation and you don’t obey our laws, you’re in trouble.”

Mr Robinson said Australia’s biosecurity laws remained among the strictest in the world.

“Dogs from the United States are known to possibly carry rabies, and numerous types of ticks with diseases that not only effect dogs, but other mammals including humans,” he said.

“When I saw the video I thought it clearly broadcast the importance of biosecurity to Australia.”