Nigella Lawson has been granted entry to New Zealand to film a TV commercial. The British celebrity cook was given special direction because she was initially ineligible for visa in the country.
The domestic goddess, 54, has been denied entry to United States after admitting cocaine use during the fraud trial of her two assistants. Her exclusion from the U.S. also made her ineligible to enter New Zealand.
However, she was given special consideration, and is now allowed to film an ad for chocolate company Whittaker’s.
“As Ms Lawson has been excluded from another country, namely the United States, she was ineligible to be granted a visa to enter New Zealand unless given a special direction,” Immigration NZ said in a statement to the Herald on Sunday.
“A special direction was considered and granted and subsequently her visa application was approved.”
Although Lawson’s reputation has taken a nosedive after her cocaine use has been made public, Whittaker’s has still put its trust on her to promote its products.
“We chose Nigella because she is widely liked for her warm and refined manner,” Holly Whittaker told the paper.
Meanwhile, Lawson’s entry ban lift has caused uproar online, with some Netizens calling the Immigration NZ’s favouritism disgraceful.
Labour Party immigration spokesman Rajen Prasad also expressed his concern over the visa grant.
“I hope it’s not simply been given because Nigella is a celebrity, and she was subject to the same rules as others are. But if special circumstances are present, I accept that,” he was quoted by the APNZ as saying.
The Green Party, on the other hand, has no issue with Lawson entering the country.
“She hasn’t got a conviction so I expect that immigration has applied the rules properly,” co-leader Metiria Turei said.
The Whittaker’s Chocolate ad is expected to be shot in Wellington in May.