- 06 Jul 11
Actor Keith Allen has defended U2 against criticisms in relation to their tax arrangements, in an interview with Hot Press magazine.
During the Glastonbury Festival, the UK-based Art Uncut group protested about cuts in the arts by attacking the Irish group – apparently for moving the group's tax affairs from Ireland to the Netherlands. Allen described his reaction to Olaf Tyaransen.
"I was absolutely horrified," the Welsh actor, whose film about the bizarre circumstances surrounding the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris has just been released, said. "That whole thing about getting U2 to pay their tax and whatever… I don't actually hold with the argument.
"U2 pay a lot of fucking money in tax and they’ve helped a lot of people, especially in Ireland. I know they have Music Foundations and stuff like that."
Allen himself has had to deal with demands to pay tax in different jurisdictions – including Ireland.
"I did Treasure Island in Ireland this year. And for the first time... (sighs). Like, I've filmed in Ireland a lot over the years. I had to fucking pay national insurance. I had to sign. I had to pay tax in Ireland. Then I had to go through this whole process to not pay national insurance in Ireland, which is a lot of money. So I can just imagine what it's like for them, if it’s like that for me.
"I know that whilst they're touring they have to pay tax in the different countries they tour. It's not a pretty picture, their tax situation."
However, Allen defends Art Uncut's right to protest against planned reductions to arts funding.
"They still have the fucking right to demonstrate," he says. "It's a hot air balloon for fuck's sake with ‘PAY YOUR TAX’. Now I'm absolutely convinced, you know, that there's enough intelligence around Glastonbury for people to have a reasoned argument, much like I would probably say, ‘Actually you’re wrong’.
"Power to their elbow for bothering to put up their balloon. And I think they're right in what they're saying, except not with U2, interestingly enough, because actually they’re Irish. So mind your own fucking business, deal with something over here (laughs)."
The full interview with Keith Allen will appear in the next issue of Hot Press, published July 14