Actor Ray Winstone, British star of many a gangster movie says he’s ready to quit his homeland because he believes the the country is “being raped” by high taxes.
In an interview with British radio station TalkSPORT, the Sexy Beast star didn’t mince his words comparing the 45 percent tax rate for top UK earners to the violent sex crime.
The 56-year-old told the show: “I can see myself leaving. I love this country but I’ve had enough. I don’t see what we are being given back. I just see the country being raped.”
Winstone, who recently starred in the big screen version of Brit police drama The Sweeney added: “There are more holes in the roads than a tennis racket, we can’t build hospitals and fire stations are closing.”
Continuing his rant about the state of the UK, the Brit said he didn’t trust any of the country’s politicians, musing that if people stopped voting for them maybe things would change.
The notoriously outspoken actor has threatened to leave Britain before. In a 2008 interview with Live magazine, Winstone complained:
“This country isn’t going to the dogs. It’s gone to the dogs. We’re a mess. And do I really want to live in this mess any more? I feel bad saying it but I’m just not sure.”
Winstone’s comments echo the war of words French actor Gerard Depardieu had with France’s Francois Hollande-led socialist government last year, over their plans to impose a 70 tax on residents who earn over one million Euros a year.
Depardieu’s protest led to him accepting a personal invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to exchange his French citizenship for Russian. The actor now has a Russian passport and an address at 1, Democracy Street in — a designation he called “symbolic.”
It may be that Winstone has point about the tax system in the UK, at least for high earners. In November 2012, a poll by accountants UHY, concluded that the UK had ninth highest tax burden for people earning over £ 125,000 in a list of 26 countries.
In addition, for the very top earners — people pulling in £950,000 a year or more — Britain has the sixth highest tax rate.
However, Winstone’s comments have drawn fire from some who say rape is an inappropriate comparison to make. His re,marks have since been blasted by politicians and Talk Sport radio listeners.
Kate Green MP, Shadow Minister for Equalities, said:
“These comments are very upsetting and hurtful to survivors of rape. Rape is a vicious and utterly wicked attack on people which can leave them emotionally and often physically scarred. It’s wrong to equate that with having to pay your taxes.”
Likewise, one listener left a comment on the radio station’s website, saying:
“I hate it when men use the word rape for anything other than it actually means. It’s sickening,” while another wrote: “Lots of stars in need of cheap publicity offer to leave but the b*****s never do. Ray, man up and just go.”
Winstone, a father-of-three, and a former boxer didn’t offer any indication on whether he will make good on his threat, or where he might relocate to. But it’s likely he won’t be moving to the States as he recently turned down a role in The Wire.
Significantly, when he arrived at the radio station, the star of Beowulf, The Departed and Scum, admitted on-air that he had a “hangover from hell” after “ironing out” a bottle of brandy the previous night.
What do you think of Winstone’s comparison of high British taxes for the rich to rape — inappropriate or not?