Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Rocky Horror's Richard O'Brien granted NZ residency after Facebook protest

Richard O'Brien—the creator and writer of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, not to mention the actor who portrayed Riff Raff in the film—may be a British citizen, but he spent 12 of his formative years in New Zealand. In fact, his brother and sister still live there; his parents lived there until they died; and he himself owns property in the country. He's even mentioned over the years that his youth in New Zealand provided much of the fodder for what became Rocky Horror—and his hometown of Hamilton erected a statue of Riff Raff in honor of one of its favorite sons. So when he filed to become a legal resident of New Zealand earlier this year, why, as AFP reports, was he treated as if he were Sarah Silverman trying to move to Iran?

O'Brien's application to become a New Zealand resident was rejected in June, on the grounds that he simply "did not fit the criteria for citizenship or permanent residency." O'Brien's fans undertook a Facebook campaign in protest, which may or may not have helped lead to a reversal of the decision against the filmmaker; the New Zealand government has now granted O'Brien the right to permanently reside on the island nation. As it turns out, there was no anti-Rocky conspiracy afoot: at age 68, O'Brien is well past the 55-year-old limit for such residency, not to mention the fact that he hasn't secured employment in New Zealand, another stipulation for immigration.


Still, Mark Servian, the man who launched the online campaign on O'Brien's behalf, says O'Brien shouldn't have had to wade through all that red tape in the first place, and that he "should have been welcomed home with a big hug, not put through the immigration hoops." After all, who wouldn't want to hug this?