Sam Newman causes outrage with New Zealand PM 'insult'

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

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.

Jacinda Ardern hugs a mosque-goer at the Kilbirnie Mosque. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

“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.

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.”

Sam Newman in 2013. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

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?”

Newman defended himself in the face of the criticism.

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.

Sam Newman’s transgender stunt. Image: Twitter