News & Politics

'American Gods' Author Neil Gaiman Apologizes for Flying 11,000 Miles to Escape His Wife

Craig Lassig

The coronavirus crisis has been tough on a lot of married couples. Divorces are on the upswing, and even the rich and famous are having a hard time living in the same mansion for months at a time. Think about it: If you had the wherewithal to flee halfway around the world from the one person you can’t get along with anymore, would you let a little thing like a planet-stopping plague stand in your way? American Gods author Neil Gaiman didn’t!

BBC News:

Author Neil Gaiman has apologised for making a trip from New Zealand to “self isolate” at his home on Skye.

The Good Omens and American Gods writer was spoken to by police after breaking Scotland’s lockdown measures…

The author left his wife, singer Amanda Palmer, and their four-year-old son in Auckland so he could “isolate” at his island retreat…

English-born Gaiman said he had “panicked” at the thought of being stuck in New Zealand while all his upcoming work was in the UK…

“I made a mistake. Don’t do what I did. Don’t come to the Highlands and Islands unless you have to.”

At first glance, this looks like a case of a wealthy, famous man getting into a tiff with his wealthy, famous wife, then fleeing halfway across the world to one of his other homes in the middle of a global pandemic, as if the rules don’t apply to him. But when you look deeper… yeah, it’s pretty much just that.

Gaiman does seem properly chastened about it, if you like that sort of thing. As he writes on his blog:

I want to apologize to everyone on the island for creating such a fuss. I also want to thank and apologise 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 may or may not think Gaiman made a mistake, but he clearly thinks so and he’s not too proud to admit it. There doesn’t seem to be any coercion involved in his apology, by the police or anybody else. He messed up and he’s sorry. I applaud his honesty and humility. It’s refreshing.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is someone like Chris Cuomo, who turned his own quarantine into a nightly televised sideshow. Then he broke quarantine and infected his wife and son, threatened a passerby who saw him break quarantine, and a week later “emerged from the basement” on CNN to boost his ratings. Even though everybody knows Cuomo lied about being quarantined, he’s still insisting he’s done nothing wrong. He’s even gone back to scolding other people for doing the exact same thing he did. He knows he can get away with it because of his wealth and connections. Calling him “Fredo” is no longer applicable. Andrew Cuomo isn’t smart enough to send his dumb little brother out on the lake.

Anyway, good for Neil Gaiman. Live and learn. Let’s hope he didn’t expose himself or anyone else to the virus during his transcontinental marital spat, so he can go back to writing about ghosts or faeries or elves or whatever he’s scribbling about this time.

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