An Australian department store chain has released a new version of a commercial starring Katy Perry, cutting out a joke about koalas that struck animal lovers as cruel and clueless.
National retailer Myer is giving away 8,000 tickets for the Australian leg of the pop singer’s “Witness” tour next year, and Perry plugged the contest in a commercial. In the ad’s final seconds, the camera cut to the singer’s teacup poodle, Nugget. In what was apparently intended as a throwaway line to show her excitement about the trip Down Under, Perry quipped, “Let’s go chase some koalas, Nugget.” (Watch the new version above; the original is below.)
Koalas are a protected species in Australia, dog attacks are among the top threats against them, and the ad inspired exclamation point-laden messages on the chain’s Facebook page. Among them: “Myer and Katy Perry need to see the damage dogs do to KOALAS !!!! IF the poor koala survives it has horrific injuries !!! What idiot thought that encouraging dogs to chase Koalas was a good idea !!!” Myer responded to that comment by saying it was removing the line.
There has been no comment from Perry, who was criticized by PETA in 2013 for putting exotic animals in the music video for her song “Roar.”
The koala comment has been replaced by a new quip from Perry: “OK, Nugget. It’s time to get you a puppy passport.”
For a brand probably trying to avoid any further controversy, the updated comment was a bit surprising. Australia has strict laws about bringing pets into the country; dogs from the U.S. need to be quarantined for at least 10 days, for example. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were famously accused of smuggling their Yorkshire terriers into Australia in 2015, and an official even threatened to euthanize their pets. They eventually apologized.
After Myer’s edited ad appeared, one Facebook commenter took offense at Perry’s suggestion that her dog would visit Australia with her. It’s “Johnny Depp all over again,” she wrote. “Arrogance and disrespect for Australia.”
Neither Paul Hogan nor Yahoo Serious were available for comment at press time.