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"The job is pretend, right? It's pretending. What you can't do is take pretend into the business. The business is real"  -Russell Crowe
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 

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In last week’s editorial on the US$100,000-plus cash settlement made by Russell Crowe to Mercer Hotel clerk Nestor ‘Josh’ Estrada, Andrew L. Urban was critical of both the clerk and the hotel (without condoning Crowe’s phone throwing).

Some readers definitely don’t agree with Andrew’s position – and some do. Here are some emails we received:

Don’t agree:
Hello Andrew, 
I am stunned that you would be so negative about Nestor Estrada and his payout from Russell Crowe. Crowe - by his own admission - behaved in an appalling way. He was so eager to be seen on TV being regretful and upset, and yet still hasn't contacted Nestor personally to apologise. He repeatedly behaves in ways that are socially unacceptable and people like you should not condone this or admonish people who refuse to accept it. His extraordinary ability as a screen actor does not excuse his ability to act like a pig in the real world. Nestor had had his life turned upset down. He was working for $9 an hour on a midnight to dawn shift and making an honest living. He does not deserve to be assaulted and abused no matter what the quality of the hotel telephone service. His payout - which was considerably higher than the reported US$100,000 – is great news and I hope enjoys every cent. You might reconsider just who has the ‘lack of character’ in this scenario.
Peter Ford

Yes Andrew, we all have the right to throw phones at people, particularly when it is an expression of our dissatisfaction with the service. I never leave home without my phone, one of those big, heavy old ones with the rotary dial. And, I can tell you that when they see my phone at the ready, the service is always five star. But I suppose that I am lucky, dealing with professionals and all.
Paul Vanderschaaf

Andrew says: You don’t have to condone or excuse Crowe’s actions to be also critical of the Mercer and/or of Estrada. Of course I don’t condone his phone throwing and nothing in my article should be interpreted as defending his violent actions; perhaps I should have spelt that out in big letters. I stand by my opinion about both the expensive hotel with the inferior phone system, and of the hotel clerk’s unprofessional, ‘whatever’ attitude – and the subsequent supersize settlement. 

Dear Mr. Urban, 
May I express how pleasant it was to "finally" read a viewpoint about the Russell Crowe telephone incident, at the Mercer Hotel, that presented a fair and just description of the frustrating situation in which Mr. Crowe found himself. You are the first person that questioned Mr. Estrada's inefficiency, and how a Hotel that charges over $3,000 a night does not offer a phone that works, or a clerk trained to solve a guest's problem, particularly when they boast a hotel policy that implies all the comforts of home, on their web site. The Mercer should be charged with misrepresentation of a product, and Mr. Estrada should have been fired. Are they both going to walk away unscathed! If Mr. Crowe had intended to hurt that clerk, he would have used his fists, as he certainly had gone through extensive boxing training for the past year. I am seventy-six years old and may I say, had I been in Mr. Crowe's position, unsuccessfully trying to reach my family thousands of miles away, to let them know that all is well, I would have had some choice words for that poor excuse of an employee who arrogantly refusing to do his job to help me. Thank you for your editorial. You have a new fan!

That footnote on the article re Russell Crowe is incorrect. Cellphones can be used in the US - I was there five weeks ago and was able to use mine. They have to have roam and be able to connect to the US system though - it is different to NZ and Australia etc. I agree with your point-of-view about the hotel. 
Richard Walls

Andrew, Thought you'd be interested in knowing from a New Yorker's perspective that service at many of the posh establishments is an Fn joke (if I didn't have to take talent to these places I'd never give them a dime). The problem stems from the fact that many of the younger people in the service trades that cater to the wealthy want to do something other than their job (model, actor, singer etc.). Top this with businesses that pay their employees shit ("internships" in the creative industries is a perfect example), what do you expect - everyone hustling their side projects. If the "victim" was only being paid $9/hour he should help unionize the joint. $100K+, give me a break - I'd negotiate a better deal than that for Russell, for free.
Peter (full name supplied)
New York

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