Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Emma's Isle comments laughed off

Emma Thompson made a joke about the Isle of Wight - but meant the Isle of Man

Emma Thompson's comments about stoning gays and shooting Scots on the Isle of Man have been laughed off by government officials.

The actress was appearing on the US TV chat show The Late Late Show last month when she made the remark when discussing holidays.

Emma initially referred to the Isle of Wight, joking about homosexuals being stoned and a reference to alleged ancient laws allowing locals to shoot Scottish people on sight.

It provoked dismay from officials on the Isle of Wight, with council leader David Pugh describing her claims as "ridiculous".

However it appears geography is not a strong point for the Oscar-winning star, with her confusing the south coast Isle of Wight with the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.

In a response to a letter from Mr Pugh, Emma said the remarks on the late night comedy show were not to be taken seriously and she had "mixed up" the Isle of Wight with the Isle of Man, which only legalised homosexuality in 1992, 25 years behind England and Wales, and thrashed young offenders with the birch until the 1970s.

Officials on the Isle of Man have said they are taking the comments in the spirit they were made - as a joke.

A government spokesman said: "Emma Thompson was obviously joking so we are not taking her comments seriously. For the record the Isle of Man's exceptional quality of life is enjoyed by a wide variety of residents and visitors, including a number of Scots."

The island, home to Sir Norman Wisdom, Jeremy Clarkson and Nigel Mansell, has attracted major Hollywood names in recent years with Johnny Depp, Renee Zellweger and Zac Efron visiting to shoot films.

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