Date: 16th October 2000
Irish USUAL SUSPECTS star GABRIEL BYRNE has angered Americans by attacking CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS - the explorer credited with discovering the country.
New York-based Byrne has dismissed him as a "despot" who spread chaos and disease wherever he went. The actor says, "The truth is that he committed huge acts of genocide. He imposed his religion on people and brought diseases to the places he conquered. He was actually, for all the good he did, quite a despotic man."
But an American HARVARD UNIVERSITY academic has hit back at Byrne, saying, "It's a bit like an American movie star calling SAINT PATRICK an drunk and a womaniser. We now believe he was on a mission to bring Christianity to the New World. There is evidence that he was acting on the orders of The Pope at the time."(RXT/ISM/RGS)