Sir Ian McKellen: 'I do hope John Key listens to his
critics and appreciates their concern. Careless talk
Veteran actor Ian McKellen has told John Key his
"careless" use of the word "gay" as a criticism could damage
The Prime Minister is under fire for using the word "gay" to
describe a red top, worn by The Farming Show presenter Jamie
Mackay in an interview, on the same day Mr Key reportedly
called footballer David Beckham "thick as batsh*t".
"You're munted mate. You're never going to make it. You've
got that gay red top on," he told Mackay.
Sir Ian, who plays Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series
and upcoming The Hobbit trilogy, said Key's language
reflected badly on New Zealand.
In a blog posted today, the openly gay actor said New Zealand
had a proud history of leading the world on social issues.
"Mr Key should watch his language," he said.
"I'm currently touring secondary schools in UK, attacking
homophobia in the playground and discouraging kids from the
careless use of 'gay' which might make their gay friends (and
teachers) feel less about themselves.
"So even as he supports the proposal to introduce same-gender
marriages in New Zealand, I do hope John Key listens to his
critics and appreciates their concern. Careless talk damages
lives," he said.
Key yesterday said he meant "weird" when he used the word
"gay" in the interview.
He had picked up the term from his children and had no
intention of sounding homophobic.
Though he agreed it was an unfortunate use of words, he said:
"a hell of a lot of people would use it, and the common use
of it is in the Oxford dictionary".
Sir Ian said many words that can offend people are in the
He said New Zealand should value its history of leading the
world on many social and policy issues.
Key also courted controversy over reports he branded David
Beckham "thick as batsh*t" while speaking to a group of
students at Dunedin's St Hilda's Collegiate last Friday.
He has refused to confirm or deny insulting the football
However, British media have picked up the story.
Beckham's London-based media guru Simon Oliveira - who also
oversees global campaigns for tennis ace Andy Murray and
Formula One star Lewis Hamilton - was not impressed.
"It is not worthy of comment."
- Hayden Donnell and APNZ