You know what’s a really effing stupid idea? Flying 11,000 miles across the world during a literal pandemic because you need to be in the same timezone as your BFFs instead of your wife and child. Hey, we’ve all been there, right? As Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’s totally-not-a-breakup public drama continues to play out — please respect their privacy as they bellow it from the rooftops — attention has fallen on Gaiman for his decision to leave New Zealand and fly to the Isle of Skye in Scotland where he can ride out the rest of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Gaiman said he had taken the journey because he ‘needed to be somewhere I could talk to people in the UK while they and I were awake, not just before breakfast and after dinner.’ Seems legit, right? When he faced pushback for this ridiculous decision, Gaiman claimed he was entitled to come to Scotland because Skye is his home and he has lived in the U.K. since 2017. This seemed at odds with his own prior claim that he and Palmer were ‘looking forward to being together again in Woodstock’, New York.
Well, now Gaiman seems to understand that he’s made a big mistake, so he’s taken to his blog once more to sort-of apologize. Here’s part of said explanation, which includes confirmation that he received a visit from the police:
I got to chat to some local police officers yesterday, who said all things considered I should have stayed where I was safe in New Zealand, and I agreed that yes, all things considered, I should. Mostly they wanted to be sure I was all right, and had been isolating, and that I would keep isolating here until the lockdown ends, and to make sure I knew the rules. Like all the locals who have reached out to me, they’ve been astonishingly kind.
Since I got here Skye has had its own tragic COVID outbreak — ten deaths in a local care home. It’s not set up to handle things like this, and all the local resources are needed to look after the local community. So, yes. I made a mistake. Don’t do what I did. Don’t come to the Highlands and Islands unless you have to.
I want to apologize to everyone on the island for creating such a fuss. I also want to thank and apologize to the local police, who had better things to do than check up on me. I’m sure I’ve done sillier things in my life, but this is the most foolish thing I’ve done in quite a while.
You know what? Screw you, Neil Gaiman. Seriously. Screw you.
Scotland is currently in lockdown. I haven’t been able to see or hug my parents for close to two months now. I haven’t seen my friends for weeks. I live in the city where Scotland had its first coronavirus patient so you can understand how tense and precarious it feels to be here right now. During all of this, I and many other Scots have had to listen to the usual braying talking-heads downplay the risk of rich jerks choosing to drive hundreds of miles to get to the Highlands and Islands so they can ride out the pandemic in their holiday homes. I’ve seen at play the overwhelming callousness that has empowered those with money and property to act as though they have full ownership not only over this country but its citizens. Scotland isn’t a nation to them, it’s merely a holiday spot, a pretty backdrop to their own selfish needs. Never mind that Skye, the region Gaiman decided to make his own domain, and other rural areas of Scotland are notoriously ill-equipped in terms of medical equipment and nursing care right now. As Gaiman himself noted in his pseudo-groveling blog post, ten people are dead in Portree, Sky, from COVID-19. The nearest ICU to Skye is in Inverness and requires either an air ambulance or three-plus hours car drive to get there.
But it’s okay, you guys, because he’s now in the same time zone as his agent.
Scotland is not your magical little landscape to have quirky writer adventures on. It’s a real place populated by five million people doing their bloody best to deal with unprecedented circumstances. We were never all in this together, as much as the propaganda and celeb-bullsh*t wanted us to believe that, and Gaiman’s own selfishness is proof of that.
He’d better be f**kin glad that the residents of Skye aren’t breaking out the wicker man right now.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.