August 25, 2006

Tom Cruise wins Australia award — for sexism

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Actor Tom Cruise has a new award from
Australia to add to his collection -- for being the most sexist

About 400 of Australia's most powerful women gathered in
the New South Wales state parliament late Thursday to decide on
the winners of the 14th annual "Ernie Awards" which are handed
out for the worst derogatory public statements.

The awards were named after a trade union leader called
Ernie whose union members included sheep shearers. He once
famously said: "Women aren't welcome in the shearing sheds.
They're only after the sex."

The "Ernies" have an international flavor -- and Cruise was
awarded the 2006 Celebrity Ernie.

Dumped by Paramount Pictures for his erratic behavior,
Cruise won for a comment he made about his pregnant partner
Katie Holmes: "I've got Katie tucked away so no one will get to
us until my child is born."

The political award went to Bill Heffernan, a member of
Prime Minister John Howard's conservative government in a hotly
contested field.

Heffernan chastised opposition Labor MP Julia Gillard for
being single and childless. "Anyone who chooses to deliberately
remain barren ... they've got no idea what life's about,"
Heffernan said.

But the Golden Ernie for 2006 went to cruise liner company
P&O for an advertising campaign that included postcards
featuring bikini-clad women and the caption: "Seamen wanted."

The company has subsequently apologized for the campaign
and described it as inappropriate.