Are Kiwi males vulgar? A Hollywood star thinks so

By Joanne Carroll

A Hollywood star has publicly complained of being sexually harassed by New Zealand men, prompting a counter-attack by tourism bosses.

Anna Faris, who previously starred in the Scary Movie series, Lost in Translation and as herself in Entourage, spent time in Auckland last year filming Yogi Bear.

Appearing on American television to promote the movie, the 34-year-old said Kiwi men had shouted obscenities at her in public and demanded she show them her breasts.

But Tourism NZ spokesman Ian Long said no one would take Faris seriously.

"In the same segment, she accepts an award for being a pothead stoner of the year and she's quite clearly had a few. I don't think she has any credibility," he said.

Long's attack on Faris was echoed by New Zealanders approached in the street, some of whom appeared to blame Faris for the abuse.

One man said that if she was famous she must expect "attention"; a woman said she "gets her tits out" in movies so shouldn't be surprised at the public reaction.

Faris made her comments on television host George Lopez' talkshow, broadcast to 3.2 million viewers.

During the filming of Yogi Bear, she said Kiwi men yelled at her while she was walking in downtown Auckland.

"I'm walking home, I've got my backpack on, got my jeans on, and this carload of guys - they were like in their 40s, from what I could glimpse - they said, 'f*** you, a***hole'."

Lopez asked her why they had shouted the obscenities.

She replied: "I don't know, and, like, three minutes later, a car full of older gentlemen said, 'show me your tits, you stupid b****'.

"I was like, you tell me where you are at - I'm going to go home to your place and I'm going to show you a good time with that kind of treatment? Oh, yeah."

Long said he was not worried that Faris' comments might deter tourists from visiting New Zealand.

"New Zealand is recognised around the world as a friendly and inviting destination for tourists," he said. "It was recently selected as the second best place to visit in 2011 by the CNN media organisation."

Tourism New Zealand's Visitor Satisfaction Monitor showed satisfaction with a New Zealand holiday was extremely high among US visitors, who rated New Zealand 9.4 out of 10, the highest of all the major travel markets.

"We also know that US visitors rated their personal safety in New Zealand more highly than visitors from all other markets, giving it a rating of 9.3 out of 10," Long said.

Tourism Industry Association spokeswoman Ann-Marie Johnson said it was "difficult to know" how Faris had been treated without more details than she had disclosed on the television show.

However, the vast majority of US visitors rated their experience of New Zealand highly.

In the streets and on the building sites: What New Zealanders think

* Natasha Crosby, Female, 31

"She does the types of movies where she does get her tits out so I don't know why she's surprised. That's happened to me but not for a while. "

* Michelle Trevarton, Female

"I don't invite it but men are red-blooded and they appreciate women. I've had guys yell at me, just wolf whistles. I just ignore them. I think it is really offputting and derogatory to women."

* Belinda McBride, Female

"My Kiwi guy friends will say things like 'that's a nice top how about taking it off' or will grab my arse. My boyfriend, who is Venezuelan, finds it very hard to understand. I don't get offended but he thinks it's very rude."

* Susan King, Female, 27

"I have just moved here from Wellington and it never happened there. I've had young and middle-aged men leering in general and people shouting out of cars. I think it depends on what time of the night you are out. When men are drunk and get together they act like idiots."

* Tim Rogers, Male, 20

"I haven't but probably quite a few Kiwi men would shout out. The majority would take a look but not shout out. Most are pretty good but some get excited when they see a group of pretty girls."

* Rory Watson, Male, 26

"I think it's obnoxious. I've only seen men shouting at women to take their tops off at the Wellington Sevens and, in general, women comply."

* Sam Aki, Male, 25

"She looks like the type of woman who would get that sort of attention. She's giving Kiwi blokes a bad reputation. If she's famous she must expect that everywhere she goes."

* Daniel Simpson, Male, 25

"I'd be lying if I said I had never shouted out to a beautiful woman in the street but never anything like that. I've wolf-whistled and maybe asked girls for their numbers but that kind of stuff is disgraceful. If I was out walking and a woman wolf-whistled at me I'd take it as a compliment."

- NZ Herald

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