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Fri 6 Mar 2015 02:08 AM

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Portsmouth leaders lash out at comedian’s #DubaiWithNoMoney tweet

Emirate has been dragged into a war of words involving British-Iranian stand-up Omid Djalili

Portsmouth leaders lash out at comedian’s #DubaiWithNoMoney tweet

Dubai has been dragged into an ongoing war of words between leaders and residents in the English coastal town of Portsmouth and a British-Iranian comedian who compared the two cities in a tweet earlier this month.

Stand-up comedian Omid Djalili on March 1 uploaded a picture of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower, which he compared to Dubai’s iconic Burj al Arab hotel, but added the hashtag #DubaiWithNoMoney.


Portsmouth leaders and residents have taken offense to the remarks and, in defending the city, has lashed out at the comparison to the Gulf emirate.

“Portsmouth is an amazing city that is leading the way on a number of national and international projects and the arrival of the America’s Cup this summer proves that,” Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones told the Portsmouth News in response to Djalili’s tweet.

Other politicians used harsher words in their defence.

“Dubai has no history, it’s built on sand,” said cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, Linda Symes.

“There are people in Dubai with no money and they are the workers who are building the big towers and they are treated very badly. I would rather be there than here because of the weather otherwise I would not like to be there at all,” said Celia Clark, president of the Portsmouth Society, a voluntary environmental organisation.

Others were for favourable towards the Portsmouth and Dubai comparison.

“Comparisons with Dubai are flattering and the Spinnaker Tower is a regional landmark,” said Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development at Portsmouth City Council.

“I have no problem with what he said, I’m not outraged by it.”

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