Richard Gere interrupted his Italian vacation to hop aboard a Spanish humanitarian ship filled with 121 migrants to bring them food and water, but Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister wasn’t impressed.
The “Pretty Woman” star is trying to draw attention to the intense standoff between migrants and European countries.
Gere explains that he was on Lampedusa, Italy’s most southern island, when he decided to travel 27 nautical miles to the Open Arms vessel.
The people on board have been stranded on the vessel for more than eight days because no European country will welcome the migrants.
The ship also faces a fine of up to 1 million euros if it enters Italian waters.
“The most important thing for these people here is to be able to get to a free port, to get off the boat, to get on land and start a new life,” Gere said, while asking people to “please support us here on Open Arms and help these people, our brothers and sisters.”
Gere has been met with praise, but many have criticized him for getting involved in foreign affairs.
One of the people who going after the actor was Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini.
Salvini gained popularity due in-part to his tough closed borders policy.
Richard Gere sulla Open Arms? Spero che si abbronzi e che si trovi bene…
Visto che la nave è una Ong che batte bandiera spagnola possono far sbarcare i 120 immigrati a Ibiza o Formentera, sbaglio?https://t.co/rPx3S61PVT
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) August 9, 2019
“Richard Gere on Open Arms? I hope he gets a tan and has fun,” Salvini tweeted, mocking the actor.
He added, “See that it is a Spanish NGO ship so they can unload the 120 migrants in Ibiza or Formentera right?”
“The Italian ports remain closed,” Salvini wrote in a follow up tweet.
These type of standoffs have been fairly common ever since Salvini took office and Gere is using his celebrity to put pressure on the EU to open a port for the migrants.