Sam Newman has caused controversy yet again with comments about Jacinda Ardern.
The New Zealand Prime Minister has been widely praised for the way she’s responded to the Christchurch terror attack, in which 50 people were killed in a shooting at a mosque.
Ms Ardern vowed to never “speak his name” this week, referring to the Australian man charged over the massacre.
“He sought many things from his act of terror but one was notoriety, that is why you will never hear me mention his name,” she said.
“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.
“And to others, I implore you — speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them.
“He may have sought notoriety but we, in New Zealand, will give nothing — not even his name.”
But despite the fact that Ms Ardern and her fellow New Zealanders are in mourning, former AFL player and media personality Newman decided it’d be appropriate to criticise the PM’s sentiments, as well as her accent.
Thank heavens NZ prime minister said she will never mention the name of the terrorist. How grating is her accent?
— Sam Newman (@Origsmartassam) March 19, 2019
Newman’s tweet immediately sparked outrage, attracting over 1000 comments in less than 24 hours.
And the majority were far from kind, with many branding his comments an ‘insult’.
‘Inappropriate given the timing’
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford said Newman’s timing was all wrong.
“He tweeted something that I thought, and I like Sam … but even I don’t know if I can accept that,” Ford said on 6PR radio in Perth.
“It’s certainly inappropriate given the timing.”
Ford said Newman’s comments were uncalled for given what New Zealand have suffered.
“She’s been incredibly impressive, so eloquent and compassionate. Just the timing (is wrong),” Ford said.
“Not at the moment, not for her when she’s under such pressure and by every account performing incredibly.
“That’s all Sam’s got to deliver?”
If circumstances weren’t so sad it would be ripe for send up. But Sam she’s been so impressive, so eloquent and compassionate in recent days. Her political leanings may not be yours but she’s conducted herself as a remarkable leader in a time of her nation’s grief.
— Peter Ford (@mrpford) March 19, 2019
Sam Newman is still one of the worst people. pic.twitter.com/ePu8hdLsYt
— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) March 20, 2019
A has been Aussie footballer and washed up sports presenter of the shock jock style which tbh is really predictable and boring
— Clare Curran (@clarecurranmp) March 20, 2019
you know Sam, you were an idiot when I knew you back in the 80s – instructive to know you haven't changed one bit
— Alison Mau (@Alisonmau) March 20, 2019
Is this guy for real? A 38-year-old is leading her country through its darkest days with grace, insight and practical compassion. And this man insults her accent? Honestly. It’s just shame upon shame upon shame being subjected to this kind of moronic utterance.
— Monique Mayze (@moniquemayze) March 20, 2019
How grating is your very existence?
— Michele McKenzie (@MColvinMcKenzie) March 20, 2019
Oh Sam what a stupid thing to say This amazing has handle this terrible situation with power grace and dignity 🙏🏼👍
— Pamela (@thebombthower) March 20, 2019
— Tim (@SeriouslyTim) March 20, 2019
look out there’s an egg behind you
— UMO (@UMO) March 20, 2019
Newman defended himself in the face of the criticism.
Thank you so much for comments re NZ prime minister – and her accent. To be clear, this had nothing to do with her sentiments. It DID have to do with the ghastly accent NZ’s have cultivated. Now, bang on about that being racist. That should occupy your tiny brains.
— Sam Newman (@Origsmartassam) March 20, 2019
No stranger to controversy
Newman’s latest controversy comes after he was slammed recently for wearing make-up and women’s clothing in a stunt to criticise transgender athletes.
Weighing into an issue that made recent headlines behind an article by tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Newman appeared alongside former AFL coach Grant Thomas and journalist Mike Sheahan in an online video.
“I think I’ve run my race as an older male and I’m thinking of transitioning,” he said.
Much like the backlash to Navratilova’s declaration that trans women are “cheating” by competing in women’s sporting events, Newman and his partners were criticised for implying men are transitioning purely for athletic reasons.
“I’m going to clean up on world titles as a woman, an older woman,” Newman replied.