Australia

Depp and Heard's bizarre apology video

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Media captionJohnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard expressed remorse in a video message made public by the Australian Department of Agriculture

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have released a stilted apology video for breaking Australia's strict biosecurity laws, bringing a bizarre end to the so-called "war on terrier".

In the scripted video, the actors describe Australia as a "wonderful island" and warn others to respect its laws.

The video was submitted to the court as Ms Heard escaped conviction for failing to declare the couple's dogs Pistol and Boo when visiting Mr Depp in Queensland in a private jet in May.

Reaction on social media was swift and brutal, with many comparing the short film to Chinese or North Korean-style propaganda. Viewers were divided over Mr Depp's somewhat lacklustre performance.

"I've seen IS (so-called Islamic State) hostage videos with more joie de vivre than Johnny Depp's apology," said one Twitter user.

Others suggested sarcastically that the low-budget feature was his finest and most innovative role in years.

Image copyright @Cactus_Matt
Image copyright @Claire_Phipps

Some tried to imagine the scene behind the camera.

Image copyright @natalietran

'Australia is a wonderful place'

The video was shot on Australia's Gold Coast on Sunday and played during the hearing at Southport Magistrate's Court.

It begins with Ms Heard describing Australia as a "wonderful place with a treasure trove of unique plants, animals and people".

Johnny Depp continues: "Australians are just as unique, both warm and direct. When you disrespect Australian law, they will tell you firmly."

This was widely seen as a reference to Barnaby Joyce, who as agriculture minister had originally threatened to have Pistol and Boo put down if they didn't "bugger off" back to the United States.

Mr Joyce, who is now deputy prime minister, acknowledged that the video may not have been entirely natural. "I don't think it would be something they would have willingly wanted to do," he said.

#WarOnTerrier

People have poked fun at the case since it began last year, using the hashtags #WarOnTerrier and #Terriergate.

Image copyright @wolfcat
Image caption Dog-related humour was one predictable response

It is not clear whose idea the video was, but reports said Australian prosecutors had vetted the dialogue.

Ms Heard pleaded guilty to falsifying an immigration document. The more serious charges of illegally importing animals were dropped.

The judge in the case placed Ms Heard on a A$1,000 ($770; £540) good behaviour bond on Monday. No conviction was recorded against her.

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