The comic, famed for his drag performances as Dame Edna Everage, caused a storm of controversy Down Under after insisting his wife Lizzie Spender, who is British, has “the right-shaped eyes” to settle in Australia, a comment aimed at the large amount of Asian immigrants who live in the country.
After Spender became an Aussie at a ceremony in London last week (ends14Oct12), Humphries told reporters, “She’s a lot more Australian than our Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is a 10 pound Pom (British immigrant) with an Adelaide accent.
“At least my wife came to our country voluntarily and not against her wishes. She has the right-shaped eyes. A lot of new Australians are Chinese.”
Following criticism of his remarks, a representative for the star insists the comedian was making a joke, and meant no offence.
The spokesperson says, “He would never want to offend anybody… a lot of what Barry says to the press is in jest.”