Do COVID-19-related rules apply to celebrities? No. (Although I did see Ben Stiller indoors earlier this month and he was wearing a mask.) We understand this by now, and yet some citizens of Sydney, Australia recently did their best to hold a pair of celebrities, plus Benjamin Millepied, accountable for their COVID-19 rule flaunting actions. We applaud their snitching, though it was, of course, in vain.
Sacha Baron Cohen, Natalie Portman, and her Millepied husband were photographed by paparazzi on a Sydney Harbor boat ride in early July, and the photos were published in the Daily Mail. (Cohen and Portman are filming in Australia, allowed in while its borders were closed to non-celebrity foreigners.) This sounds lovely except for the fact that Australia is in lockdown to prevent the wildfire-like spread of the Delta variant among its largely unvaccinated population.
"Officers attached to Northern Beaches Police Area Command received information about a group on a boat on Monday 5 July 2021, potentially breaching Public Health Orders (PHOs)," the New South Wales Police said in a statement to the BBC. Although the rules have since become more strict, the boat road came at a time when people were allowed to gather outside in groups of 10 or fewer for "essential" exercise, a guideline under which a boat ride apparently falls.
"Police have reviewed the information and confirm the activity, and the number of people in the group, complied with the PHOs in force at that time,” the statement continued. “There will be no further police action taken."
“In conclusion, we loved Borat,” they added, jk. “We literally — not exaggerating — literally fell off our seats laughing at it in the theater.”
And there you have it. Congrats, as always, to the celebs.