Rita Ora faces another backlash after travelling to Australia for The Voice


Rita Ora is facing criticism once again after travelling to Australia for her role as a coach on The Voice.

The British pop star arrived on Monday to begin a two-week period of quarantine in Sydney before filming for the talent show.

Under current COVID-19 restrictions in the UK, travelling abroad is banned without a legally permitted reason. It is not clear whether Ora had sought permission before flying, although her trip is for work and not leisure, which is banned.

Rita Ora is a judge on The Masked Singer in the UK. Pic: ITV
Ora is also a judge on The Masked Singer in the UK. Pic: ITV

The trip has come under fire from Australia‘s opposition home affairs spokeswoman, who said the singer and TV star had been prioritised over tens of thousands of the country’s citizens currently stranded overseas due to a weekly cap on arrivals.

Ora, who can currently be seen on screens in the UK in the new film Twist and as a judge on The Masked Singer, has already come under fire over coronavirus restrictions after hosting a 30th birthday party which broke lockdown rules in London in November.

A few days later it emerged she had broken another set of rules, as she had flown into the UK from Egypt a week before the party and should have been isolating as per travel restrictions at the time.

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The star had previously apologised for the “spur of the moment” decision to throw the celebration – but at a Kensington and Chelsea Council licensing sub-committee hearing in January, police described it as an “egregious and notorious” breach of the coronavirus lockdown rules.

CCTV cameras at the Notting Hill restaurant were turned off to avoid filming celebrity guests and the worker who opened the venue was offered £5,000 to do so, the hearing was told.

A former judge on The Voice UK, Ora was confirmed as a coach for The Voice Australia in December. She will be on the panel with singer-songwriter Keith Urban, husband of Nicole Kidman, and Australian music stars Jessica Mauboy and Guy Sebastian.

Shadow home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally told The Guardian that Ora’s quarantine hotel spot comes at the expense of Australians trying to get home.

“It’s another example of [Prime Minister] Scott Morrison leaving Australians behind,” she said. “There are still 40,000 Australians stranded overseas. Every celebrity who takes up a place in quarantine is a place denied to a stranded Australian.”

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The star is also facing a backlash on social media.

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Bevan Shields tweeted: “So pop singer Rita Ora has been granted an exemption from Australia’s border closure and is now taking up scarce hotel quarantine spaces in Sydney.

“This would be the same Rita Ora who held an illegal birthday party at a London restaurant in late November…”

And another Twitter user said: “Dear Australia, if you want @RitaOra that much then you can have her. Consider it a gift. Love, The United Kingdom.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson would not comment on Ora’s trip specifically.

However, in a statement to Sky News, they said: “Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.”

Sky News has contacted Channel 7, the network which broadcasts The Voice, for comment.

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