Politicians take aim at Bardem and Co. after Goya protests

Finance Minister accuses actors of not paying taxes

Javier Bardem.

Spain’s politicians have been busy getting worked up this week over the swipes made at them about cuts and corruption by members of the film world at the Goya Awards on Sunday.

Answering a question in the Senate about last year’s fiscal amnesty on Tuesday, Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro opted to lash out at Spain’s acting establishment. “We haven’t had our Depardieu here,” he said, referring to the French actor who has moved to Belgium and adopted Russian citizenship to avoid paying the Socialist government’s taxes. “We haven’t needed to. Do you know why? Because some of our famous actors don’t pay taxes here in Spain.”

Montoro’s comments prompted widespread anger among actors. “A finance minister who doesn’t know the difference between having a fiscal domicile outside of Spain and divert public money generated in our country into tax havens is a dangerous thing,” explained Abel Martín, director general of Aisge, an agency that manages the intellectual property rights of 7,000 actors and dubbing artists.

Meanwhile, the outspoken Popular Party mayor of Valladolid, Francisco Javier León de la Riva, on Wednesday took advantage of an extraordinary City Hall plenary session — held to discuss plans to divert the high-speed AVE train line beneath the city — to launch a barely concealed attack on Javier Bardem. Although he didn’t mention the Skyfall star by name, it was easy enough to pick up the allusion in his comments about artists “who show themselves to be very much in solidarity with the Sahrawis, something they never did in eight years of Socialist government, who are very pro-Palestinian, but when their wife has to give birth, they rent out an entire floor of one of the most expensive and best hospitals in the United States, the Mount Sinai, which, what’s more, is Jewish.”

The mayor also railed against actresses Candela Peña, who grabbed her chance during the Goyas ceremony to criticize the care in the public hospital where her father died, and Maribel Verdú, who dedicated her Best Actress Goya to people who had lost their homes in the crisis. Speaking about the budget for a new library that forms part of his city redesign, De la Riva wondered whether it would be possible to find the funds by taking them from the “subsidies to those people who go out in an Armani suit having spent years selling mortgages on TV and now count themselves among the poor evictees.”

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