Sam Neill causes controversy as he criticises 'pointless' Sydney
Sam Neill has divided opinion by labelling the Australian city of Sydney a "pointless place".
The 68-year-old Jurassic Park actor was born in Northern Ireland but moved to New Zealand when he was a child. He then relocated to Sydney in the 1970s, and claims his former hometown has lost much of the vibrancy that made it such a unique place to live.
“I’m grumpy because Sydney used to be such a vibrant and exciting place in the late ’70s and early ’80s,” Neill said at an event to announce the annual Tropfest short film festival's new venue in Parramatta, western Sydney, on Monday (15Aug16).
"There was an extraordinary culture but the vibrancy has been sucked out of the place."
Neill cited the city's lockout laws, which were introduced in 2014 by the New South Wales government in a bid to make the city safer after several fatal assaults fuelled by alcohol, as one of the main reasons for Sydney's atmospheric decline. The rules mean that bars in the main city and late night area Kings Cross have been forced to stop allowing entry after 1.30am and stop serving drinks after 3am.
"I particularly lament the lockout, which has taken the guts out of the nightlife of Sydney - and Sydney without nightlife is a pointless place,” Neill, who is believed to own a property in Sydney, continued.
"Kings Cross is one of the saddest places I have ever been to. Every city needs a Kings Cross. London needs a Soho and Sydney needs Kings Cross."
Clearly in the mood to court controversy on Monday, Neill also broached another controversial subject when he discussed the government's decision to ban greyhound racing from 2017 following an inquiry which found that 68,000 dogs had been killed over the past 12 years for being too slow or uncompetitive.
"Shutting down the dogs is a crime, it’s a valuable part of working-class culture,” Neill insisted. "Instead of cleaning up the dogs they’re killing the dogs. How many thousands of dogs will be destroyed and livelihoods lost? It’s regrettable and I’m grumpy about that."
Neill's comments made front pages of many Australian publications on Tuesday morning (16Aug16), with many disagreeing with his views.
- Cover Media