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Robin Williams rubs Down Under wrong way

April 1, 2010 at 11:52 PM   |   Comments

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SYDNEY, April 1 (UPI) -- American comic Robin Williams has drawn the ire of some Australians by calling them "basically English rednecks" on U.S. network television.

Williams ignited a kerfuffle with those living Down Under when he said on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" that "Australians are basically English rednecks."

Williams, 58, who recently filmed "Happy Feet 2" in Australia, also joked about being heckled by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at a recent performance.

The Times of London reported Friday the prime minister responded on national radio.

"I think Robin Williams should go and spend a bit of time in Alabama before he frames comments about anyone being particularly redneck," The Times quoted Rudd as saying.

That didn't sit well with Alabama Gov. Bob Riley.

"I'm not sure if Prime Minister Rudd has ever been to Alabama," the London newspaper quoted Riley as saying. "If he has, he would know that Alabamians are decent, hard-working, creative people."

The Herald Sun in Melbourne reported Williams tried to patch things up with the Aussies, saying he was only making an observation about Australian accents that combine rounded English and drawling American sounds.

"I was just there for two weeks," he said on Fox FM's "Hamish and Andy" show. "Every time I've been in Australia it's been wonderful, I love it down there!

"Please let me come back to Australia without a cavity search, and if not I'd love to go to a strip club with you in New York."

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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