Deborah Coddington

Deborah Coddington is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Deborah Coddington: Tourism's poor spin on boors is 100pc pure eww!

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When John Key took the tourism portfolio, we presume it was so important to New Zealand that the Prime Minister, no less, would give it some moxie. So why buy a dog and bark?

Last week, Tourism New Zealand spokesman Ian Long made us look complete nincompoops when he launched a counter-attack - as the Herald on Sunday reported - on Hollywood actress Anna Faris.

Faris, a 34-year-old who is repeatedly listed as one of the world's 100 most beautiful, desirable and sexy women, and was named Cosmopolitan magazine's "Fun, Fearless, Female of the Year", lived in Auckland last year while filming Yogi Bear.

Faris may be blonde but stereotype her at your peril. No ditz, she has a degree in English literature from Washington University.

Faris is the thinking man's darling.

But when interviewed on American television recently to promote Yogi Bear, she dumped on New Zealand men, with justification.

She recounted walking home from a concert in downtown Auckland when a carload of men, aged about 40-ish, shouted at her, "f*** you, a***hole".

A short time later, a car full of older men yelled out, "show me your tits, you stupid b****".

What is even more extraordinary about this ghastly story is that random women confirmed Faris' experience, saying they experience this sort of thing regularly from men.

Curiously, a woman old enough to know better, when asked about this behaviour, said Faris "does movies where she gets her tits out so I don't know why she's surprised".

But when Tourism NZ was approached for comment, the sad tale of Anna Faris showed why the Government should not be using taxpayers' money to promote this country's assets.

Aforementioned Ian Long attacked Faris and said no one would take her seriously.

"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."

For the record, Faris' award was from High Times magazine, for her role in the movie Smiley Face, in which she eats cupcakes laced with cannabis, with disastrous results.

Can't Long distinguish between real life and acting? It's a bit like saying we shouldn't take Dustin Hoffman seriously because he played someone with autism in Rain Man.

Or maybe Michael Douglas deserves to be mugged because he played Gordon Gekko, a wheeler dealer on Wall Street.

This is a disgrace. The Government is trying to save money.

Key should disband Tourism New Zealand immediately and fire its idiots.

Lobbing comments along the lines of "she asked for it" because of the roles Faris plays in movies, or the awards she accepts, is reminiscent of the dismissive comments made of anyone - women, gay men and transsexuals - who complained of sexual assault or harassment in the dim, dark past.

Tourism New Zealand's airy dismissal of Faris is tacit endorsement - in my view - of Kiwi males' boorish behaviour in shouting obscenities - "get your tits out", and worse - at women from cars.

Last week, my column dealt with property rights, prompting readers to argue you can't own tracts of land and ban others from walking over it.

But without property rights, there are no rights - you do not have a right to life without a right to property - and if you don't get that principle then ask yourself this: who owns your body?

Do you want to walk down the street and have men or women demand you show them your genitals?

Should others be allowed to walk all over your naked body without your permission?

You own the right to your own life and nobody can take it from you. That is your property right.

But enough hectoring.

I've given up on Kiwi men, apart from the handful close to me and my gay men friends who, ironically, do know how to treat women like women.

Kiwi men don't understand flirting, nor do they have any chivalry.

If you reject their slobbish advances in bars, they respond with lines like, "I wouldn't touch you with a barge-pole anyway, you ugly cow".

New Zealand is not alone in this.

But Tourism New Zealand, instead of attacking Faris, should have pointed out every country has its idiots, then promised to make it up to this star should she return here any time.

- Herald on Sunday

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