Actor Johnny Depp’s wife Amber Heard will avoid jail time for secretly smuggling her dogs into Australia — in part because of an apology the celebrity couple recorded for the country’s Agriculture Department that many say resembles a “hostage” video.
Heard, 29, was charged last summer for illegally bringing her Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country without declaring them. She faced two counts of illegally importing the dogs and another for producing a false immigration document.
In a video released Monday by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Heard and Depp somberly apologized for breaking the country’s strict animal quarantine laws, and offered high praise for Australia and its people and wildlife.
“Australia is a wonderful island with a treasure trove of unique plants, animals, and people,” Heard says in the video, while Depp adds: “It has to be protected.”
“Australia is free of many pests and diseases that are commonplace around the world. That is why Australia has to have such strong biosecurity laws,” Heard continues.
Depp then states: “Australians are just as unique, both warm and direct. When you disrespect Australian law, they will tell your firmly.”
Heard then says she is “truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important,” while Depp urges would-be travelers to “declare everything.”
The actress faced a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $75,000 fine for bringing the dogs into the country last April while Depp was filming his latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
According to E! News, the video apology was submitted to a Queensland court on Monday, where Heard entered a guilty plea for the immigration document charge. The other charges were dropped by Queensland Magistrate Margaret Callaghan.
Heard will avoid punishment, so long as she stays out of trouble for 30 days.
Callaghan stated she felt the Australian Agriculture Department “will get more deterrence value from the video than any conviction.”
Some Twitter users, meanwhile, have noted that the couple appeared as though they were hostages being forced to record a video for their captors.
That Johnny Depp apology video… pic.twitter.com/8dPUZor4QU
— Jason Tin (@jasonthetin) April 18, 2016
Johnny Depp & Amber Heard brought dogs to Australia illegally so the government forced them to make a hostage video https://t.co/i1WKZRG0Bz
— Claire Phipps (@Claire_Phipps) April 18, 2016
Please, somebody save Johnny Depp. He looks like he's being held hostage. pic.twitter.com/Ok87TxbSN9
— Rob Canning (@CanningRob) April 18, 2016
I can't wait to go and see this film! Depp and Heard's biosecurity thriller ends in lo-fi hostage video – review https://t.co/TDGwNEyLPL
— Michael PJ McDermott (@MpjMcD) April 18, 2016
Seen Johnny Depp's apology video and it reminds me of those people taken hostage by North Korea who are forced to praise the regime
— Richard Jenkins (@Richard1982) April 18, 2016
A video depicting the Depp/Heard apology as a hostage situation went viral within hours of the original video’s release: