US Homeland Security has been publicly accused of inconsistency after celebrity chef Nigella Lawson was stopped from boarding a British Airways flight to Los Angeles last weekend. Lawson, who acknowledged last year that she had occasionally used cocaine, was denied permission to board a flight to the United States the U.S. Embassy said. The embassy did not disclose the reason for refusing Lawson entry into the United States.
Embassy spokeswoman Lynne Platt said Thursday that Lawson was stopped from traveling Sunday and had subsequently been invited to the embassy to apply for a visa. She said such applications were generally handled "routinely and expeditiously."
Lawson tweeted Saturday that she was going on vacation, but she also has worked in the U.S., where she co-hosted TV cooking competition "The Taste." British citizens need visas to work in the U.S. but not for a vacation. Lawson's co-host on "The Taste," chef Anthony Bourdain, tweeted that he was "absolutely mortified with embarrassment over the cruelty and hypocrisy of U.S. actions" over Lawson's travel.
In December she testified at the fraud trial of two former aides, and told the court she had used cocaine a handful of times. She denied claims by the defendants that she was a regular drug user.
"I promise you ... regular cocaine users do not look like this," said Lawson, who is known for her voluptuous figure.
No US state nor the federal government makes cocaine use a crime. Instead, what has caused Ms. Lawson's current trouble must surely be her admission, under oath, that she was involved in the process of procuring and distributing a controlled substance, cocaine. That fits the definition of a drug 'sale' in most jurisdictions. And that is a far more serious offense than mere drug use as an article fails to point out.
Although I think Lawson is no risk to US public safety I still wonder about a few things. The Toronto Star drew attention to how the city's mayor Rob Ford, who has admitted consuming crack cocaine, had recently gone to the USA. Forgive us for asking, but why is Canadian singer Justin Bieber still allowed into the US? Bieber has spent most of this past year fending off drug use allegations and criminal investigations; yet, he still maintains residences in the United States. But, my biggest query is:
What about Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richard? Keith Richards may have fallen out of a tree in Fiji while out of his gourd on other than vitamin supplements, but he is what rock n’ roll is all about: debauchery. Nigella agreed with me and said,
“Keith Richards would have regarded the amount of cocaine I took as invisible. It would not have registered on his consciousness. He’s probably still got that much stuck up there and he just can’t be bothered to have it removed.
“And yet he has a house in America. I implore you, look at him and look at me and then explain to me what the heck you are talking about.”
This is very silly. Having taken drugs a few times doesn't exactly make her a major national threat. Is this just another case of a bureaucrat in a bad mood? Hasn't Nigella had enough grief having her private life laid bare whilst not being entitled to defend herself, now this?
I haven't always liked Nigella Lawson, but recent events have made me feel much more sympathetic towards her. I wonder if it was her vindictive ex- husband who had a hand in this somehow? At the trial of her and Mr Saatchi's personal assistants last year, the ‘domestic goddess’ admitted taking cocaine, and said her former husband was on a campaign to 'ruin me in any way'. There is no evidence that Mr Saatchi in fact used his contacts to prevent Miss Lawson’s entry to the US, or that any of the named contacts would have been willing to help him with this. But, I think we as Canadians should be wary and afraid. Can Homeland Security use this as an excuse to send "the Bieber" back to Canada?
Ahh, life in the fast lane....