The Australian politician who famously threatened to euthanize Johnny Depp’s pet dogs faces calls for his resignation after being filmed lying drunk in the street while talking on his cellphone.
Barnaby Joyce, 56, is one of Australian politics’ more colorful characters. He made headlines as agriculture minister in 2015 when it emerged that Depp had illegally smuggled their Yorkshire terriers into the country, defying strict quarantine laws.
Warning Depp that the dogs would be put down, he declared: “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”
The incident did him no harm career-wise, although Depp and then-wife Amber Heard did not forget it, and Joyce was named deputy prime minister the following year. He was forced to resign in 2018 when it emerged that he had left his wife for his much younger press secretary, Vikki Campion, whom he had got pregnant during a months-long affair.
The pair are now married and Joyce was talking on the phone to Campion when he slipped onto the footpath after a night out in Canberra last Wednesday. Instead of picking himself up straight away, he continued talking while lying on the ground.
Video footage of the incident, including a four-letter outburst from Joyce, was published by the Daily Mail Australia on Friday, bringing calls for him to be sacked from the opposition frontbench.
Appearing on TV on Monday morning, Joyce admitted he had made a “big mistake.”
“I’m on a prescription drug, and they say certain things may happen to you if you drink, and they were absolutely 100 per cent right. They did,” he said.
Peter Campion, Joyce’s father-in-law who once described him as a “sheep” who deserved to be “roasted on a spit,” came to the politician’s defense, saying he had just received bad family news when he fell off the plant pot.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Joyce’s political opponent, said there “needs to be an explanation” for his behavior.