Outspoken Australian feminist Germaine Greer labeled Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin as ‘embarrassing’ on Wednesday, and said she hoped her compatriot's death brought an end to exploitative wildlife programs.
SYDNEY: Outspoken Australian feminist Germaine Greer labeled Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin as ‘embarrassing’ on Wednesday, and said she hoped her compatriot's death brought an end to exploitative wildlife programs.
Greer accused Irwin of provoking the stingray that killed him with a tail barb to the heart Monday, saying such behaviour was typical of the 44-year-old naturalist's documentaries.
"I really found the whole Steve Irwin phenomenon embarrassing and I'm not the only person who did, or indeed the only Australian who did," the British-based Greer told Australia's Channel Nine television via satellite on Wednesday.
Asked whether she felt out of touch with most Australians given the wave of mourning that has swept her homeland since his death, Greer replied: "I don't care what I'm being called, I hope I'm out of touch with what idiots are thinking."
Greer's remarks follow a column she wrote for Britain's Guardian newspaper in which she said the animal world had finally taken its revenge on Irwin.
They angered Peter Beattie, premier of Irwin's home state of Queensland, who described Greer's comments as "outrageous".
"That's just nonsense," Beattie said. "That is just garbage and it is insensitive, crazy and untrue."
Opposition Labor Party's foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said Greer should have considered Irwin's wife and two children before speaking out.
"I think Germaine Greer should just stick a sock in it," he told reporters.
"You have got a grieving mother, you have got a couple of grieving young kids and a grieving nation and what do you get from Germaine Greer? You get a bucket load of politically correct pap -- it's just nonsense.
"Steve Irwin was a nature conservationist, an animal conservationist and made a huge contribution to the preservation of wildlife worldwide.
"And what do we get from Germaine Greer? Some gratuitous, politically correct claptrap."
Greer shot to prominence in the early 1970s with her seminal feminist work The Female Eunuch. Since then she has been largely based in Britain.