The journalist who published a notorious quote from Melissa George five years ago has apologized to the actor and said she does not deserve the backlash against her.
Fairfax reporter Christine Sams interviewed the star in November 2012 when she was promoting her new series "Hunted" and trying to escape inevitable questions about playing Angel in "Home and Away" from Australian media.
At the time, George was clearly fed up and blasted Australian press for causing her so much stress she did not want to return to the country. It led to the now notorious statement: “I’d rather be having a croissant and a little espresso in Paris or walking my French bulldog in New York City.”
The comment sparked a swift and vicious backlash against George which has haunted her ever since.
Now, in the aftermath of a tell-all Sunday Night interview in which George detailed her distress at not being able to leave Paris with her children during a custody battle, Sams said she was shocked to see that quote still being used against her.
“I’ve been horrified to see that many Australians have been quick to throw her words from that interview right back in her face. ‘Suck it up princess,’ said one commentator, echoing scores of others who suggested she deserves no sympathy for turning her back on Australia,” she wrote.
George’s recent appearance on Sunday Night featured an emotional interview about her custody battle with French entrepreneur Jean-David Blanc and the violent night that saw them both convicted of assault.
However online reaction showed a dark side to Australia including a culture of victim-blaming and shaming.
“If you bag out Australia then you are not entitled to any empathy ever again in your entire life.” “Oh now she is sorry, how convenient.” “She was too good for Australia when all was going well with her … just deal with this yourself sweetheart. The rest of us are not interested” “Silly girl ...” read some of the comments online.
Sams said she remembers her shock at hearing George’s comments at the time, but now regrets using them in her article.
“The one thing I certainly didn’t know was that nearly five years later, a clearly traumatized Melissa George would plead publicly to Australia for help after a very troubling incident of domestic violence in her French home and those words of hers would still be used against her by so many. Is Australia really so unforgiving that those flippant and somewhat ridiculous remarks will be held against her for years?
I just wanted to say sorry, Melissa, you don’t deserve it,” she said.
Mr. Blanc has denied any acts of violence against his former lover, saying she tried to leave the country with his children without his consent.
He told News Corp Australia that George was free to come and go “all over the world as she always did."
News Corp revealed last week that Mr. Blanc, about 48, and Ms. George, 40, had both been convicted in February of assaulting each other in a physical altercation at their palatial Paris penthouse in September, which ended their relationship.