Paying David Walliams €120,000 to host an awards show is a clear sign that the government’s priorities are all wrong, the PN said on Tuesday.
PN MPs Ivan Castillo and Julie Zahra noted that Walliams’ huge fee meant the comedian pocketed €821 for every minute of the roughly 150-minute awards show, held in January 2022.
“That is more than a minimum wage worker earns in a month,” the two MPs said in a statement.
Minimum wage workers earn €213.54 per week.
Castillo and Zahra contrasted extravagant spending with citizens’ concerns about the cost of living, which surveys regularly rank as the biggest worry on people’s minds.
“Instead of prioritising this and doing something about it, as many EU member states with much lower inflation rates have done, Robert Abela’s government is burning though public funds in an especially irresponsible way,” the MPs said.
“Instead of giving teachers what they deserve or investing to combat the rising cost of living, the government’s priority is to help its inner circle. While the government taxes your COLA cheques, it is handing others cheques of €120,000,” they added.
Walliams’ fee for hosting the 2022 awards was made public on Monday, after an almost two-year-long legal battle that saw the Tourism Ministry and Malta Film Commission file one appeal after another to try and block the information from being made public.
They were finally compelled to release the figure following a legal decision last month.
The government originally budgeted €400,000 for the film awards, meaning Walliams was paid 30 per cent of the award show’s original budget.
It later emerged that the show and its ancillary events cost taxpayers €1.3 million. The Malta Film Awards have not been held for a second time. Another film festival, which Walliams also hosted in Malta, the 2023 Mediterrane Film Festival, cost "at least €1 million" to organise.