Pretend pirate Johnny Depp has run afoul of some very real authorities over non-Disney-style bootlegging, as Australia is threatening to euthanize two dogs Depp has illegally smuggled into its country. Depp—who did not adhere to the rules about introducing foreign flora or fauna laid out in the official document on the matter, The Simpsons episode “Bart Vs. Australia”—brought his Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into Australia on his private jet, presumably nestled within his scarves, without first obtaining the proper permits or placing them in quarantine, a serious infraction on a continent that is free of rabies and would like to keep it that way, thanks. Now Depp’s carelessness, which once portended only a mediocre movie, could lead to the death of two innocent animals.
“It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States,” said agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, in what is among the most Australian sentences ever written. In a public radio address, Joyce gave Depp’s dogs around 50 hours—until Saturday morning, thereabouts—to get to buggerin’, else department officials would be forced to euthanize them, their tangential relationship to celebrity giving them no more leeway than any other dog. “Just because he’s Johnny Depp doesn’t make him exempt from Australian laws,” Joyce said. This is an important lesson in international civics for all Johnny Depps out there.
“If we start letting movie stars—even though they’ve been the Sexiest Man Alive twice—to come into our nation [and break the laws], then why don’t we just break the laws for everybody?” added Joyce, minister of a former penal colony. And while that “Sexiest Man Alive” dig may have seemed a tad unnecessary, it actually stems from a little-known, since-revoked UN resolution granting Sexiest Men Alive total diplomatic immunity. Why, for a brief period in the 1990s, Mark Harmon could just walk into any country and kill a man, and the authorities couldn’t say shit about it.
While Depp has yet to comment publicly on the matter—or, more importantly, get his dogs on another private jet home—thousands have already rallied to his defense, launching the hashtag campaign #WarOnTerrier, as well as a Change.org petition begging Joyce to reconsider that has already amassed nearly 12,000 signatures. By contrast, a petition calling on Australia to free domestic workers from slavery-like conditions has 180 signatures. Still, none of those workers are believed to be owned by Johnny Depp.
Meanwhile, other Australian politicians have already weighed in on the matter—like Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, who reminded Joyce that “diplomacy is key,” and said he hoped that Depp would still want to return to the area and keep its film industry thriving, despite these threats to his dogs. Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt also offered his own hope that, should Depp’s dogs be placed into quarantine, “he’d provide some good soft chewy toys to look at while they were in there.” Australia does not have a lot going on right now, it seems.