Nicole Kidman is up against controversy in Hong Kong after skipping out on the region’s COVID-19 hotel quarantine mandate for Australian arrivals. Kidman is currently there shooting the Amazon series “Expats,” directed by Lulu Wang and centered on a group of close-knit, wealthy women living in Hong Kong.
According to local news site HK01 (via The Hollywood Reporter), Kidman flew into Hong Kong on a private jet on August 12 and was exempted from Hong Kong’s then-seven-day hotel quarantine, even for those vaccinated, for Australians. This was in spite of Sydney re-entering lockdown after a spike in Delta variant cases. Beginning Friday (per the Associated Press), those vaccinated travelers arriving from Australia will now have to quarantine in a hotel room for 14 days, since Australia has been reclassified as a medium-risk country.
According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau was “under mounting public pressure to explain the preferential treatment,” and released a statement saying that Kidman and other members of the crew were granted the exemption “to carry out designated professional work.”
IndieWire has reached out to Nicole Kidman’s representatives for comment.
The Hong Kong Free Press has reported that Nicole Kidman’s presence in Hong Kong has been the subject of much public scrutiny, observing that some residents have called her “Expats” series “tone-deaf.” Criticisms have also erupted over the fact that athletes returning from Tokyo following the Olympics had to observe the quarantine measures.
Social media backlash followed. “Dear #HongKong friends and family, While you are locked into a hotel room for three weeks, how does it feel to know that if you are from Hollywood, you are exempt from the barbaric quarantine rules HK residents are subjected to?” wrote Twitter user and Wall Street Journal and Reuters journalist @debkhk on Twitter.
“What the world needs at this juncture is a Prime Video series about the privileged lives of American expats in Hong Kong, with Nicole Kidman,” wrote Bloomberg columnist Michael Brooker.
Kidman is an executive producer on “Expats” through her Blossom Films. Based on the book by Janice Y.K. Lee, the series is written by Alice Bell and co-stars Jack Huston.