Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s openly gay Prime Minister, is facing a backlash for loving lycra, avocado toast and the romantic comedy, Love Actually.
In June Varadkar became the youngest Taoiseach (the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland) in the country’s history, but since then he has been called a PR man with little substance.
The Irish press has called him out for his “love of lycra-clad runs,” including a jog with prime minister Justin Trudeau. In June, when he met with British prime minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street, Varadkar admitted that he was a fan of the holiday romantic comedy Love Actually, and was excited to be in the same location where Hugh Grant’s character lived.
“Prime Minister, thank you very much for hosting us today here in 10 Downing Street. It’s my first time in this building so there’s a little thrill in it as well,” he said at a press conference with May. He added that he was “reminded of that famous scene in Love Actually where Hugh Grant was dancing down the stairs”.
“But apparently it wasn’t actually filmed here,” Varadkar noted.
After he came out as a Love Actually lover, the press and the internet poked fun at the politician, inserting his face into famous scenes from the movie:
— Lorcan Clancy (@LorcanClancy) June 19, 2017
The headlines in the Irish newspapers say that Varadkar “’swanning’ around – a mortal sin here,'” and that his new communications department is just a “vanity propaganda project.”
Varadkar is fiscally conservative and some Irish politicians have said that he is even “too right wing.”
“No amount of ’pilates, frappuccinos, skinny lattes, avocado mash and jogging’ would change that,” said Gerry Adams, an Irish republican politician who is the president of the Sinn Féin political party.
While serving as minister of health, Varadkar first opened up publicly about his sexuality in January 2015, prior to campaigning for the government’s referendum in support of same-sex marriage, which passed later that year. “It’s not something that defines me,” he said.
Irish Times points out that Varadkar, who is in a two-year relationship with Matthew Barrett, will only be the fourth openly gay head of government in modern European history, following Iceland’s Jóhanna Sigurdardottir, Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo, and Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel.