Hobbit guide sacked over alleged comment

Last updated 07:02 10/12/2012

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An Actors' Equity member has been fired as a tour guide after allegedly making a derogatory comment about filming of The Hobbit, Radio New Zealand reports.

Todd Rippon told the broadcaster he made no such comment and his role with the union is the real reason he was fired by  Rover Tours Ltd.

Mr Rippon said he always kept his union role separate from his job as a tour guide.

He said a staff member from Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) claimed Rippon, who was escorting international journalists for The Hobbit premiere, made the derogatory comment.

Mr Rippon claimed when he confronted his employer he was told he could not work for the tour company while a member of the union.

PWT chief executive David Perks said during the premiere a lot of media were in town.

Representatives from PWT and Tourism New Zealand would accompany media on various tours, and give feedback to operators, as well as other tourism businesses such as hotels.

A Tourism NZ person reported Rippon had broadened his talk further than discussing Hobbit shooting locations.

Mr Perks said there was some talk about unions, though he did not know specifically what Rippon allegedly said.

"The feedback was to make sure they keep on topic."

He would not comment on Rippon losing his job as it was an employment matter.Rover Tours owner Scott Courtney would not comment to Radio NZ, saying it was an employment matter.

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- The Dominion Post

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