Dominic Purcell is currently living in Vancouver, Canada, in order to film both Legends of Tomorrow and the new Prison Break - but according to his Instagram, he's ready to leave.
In a long Insta-rant, the actor vents his frustration with the city, from the weather to the homeless problem.
I'm here to work. That's the only attraction at this point. Not only does Vancouver have a leaking cloud problem they have a homeless population problem that roam the streets in desperate need for help.
His post brings attention to the "disturbing sadness and horror" that he sees in the city, and compares Vancouver to a "gulag" - which didn't go down too well with the locals. Commenters responded to call him "washed up" and "a douche" (among other things that we won't be re-printing). Many of the angry comments argued that every country has homeless issues, with several pointing out problems with LA's downtown homeless or Australia's displaced Aboriginal population (sparked by his comments about California and Australia). Several Canadian and Vancouver news outlets also bashed the TV star for his comments... but is he really that far off the mark?
It may be a bit extreme to compare Vancouver to a gulag, but there is no denying that Hollywood North has a serious problem with homelessness. In 2014, homelessness was still rising, and new data revealed that that year saw the highest homeless population on record for the city. In fact, the numbers of people living on the street (rather than in shelters or in hospitals long term) had almost doubled from the year before. With one of the highest rates of homelessness in Canada, Purcell isn't wrong to call the city out on the situation.
The extremely high cost of living (one of the highest in the world), combined with some of the most moderate weather in Canada and some questionable political decisions over the past fifty years have brought us to this point. On one end of the spectrum, Vancouver is home to a vast number of multi-millionaires - those who can afford the out-of-control property prices, and who contribute to the vast number of high-end restaurants, designer stores and luxury cars that line the streets. On the other end of the spectrum are streets like East Hastings - where Purcell is not exaggerating to say that the homeless take up entire blocks at a time.
The Way Forward
While the actor may have a point, there's no doubt that he went about making it the wrong way. Taking to the internet to complain about a city that opens its arms to actors, providing tax breaks that keep more money with the shows themselves... it's not exactly being appreciative.
Other Vancouver-based TV actors within the Arrow and Supernatural families have been making headlines for their charity campaigns over the past few years. From cancer research to mental health awareness to elephant poaching, stars like Stephen Amell, Jensen Ackles & Jared Padalecki, Emily Bett Rickards, Paul Blackthorne and more have been doing their bit. Mischa Collins, also of Supernatural, has gone even further than a Represent campaign with Gishwishes - a global scavenger hunt that aims to raise money and spread kindness.
Rather than complaining about the homeless problem on Instagram, Dominic Purcell could take a leaf out of his co-stars' book and create a campaign to help change things. Many of the commenters on Instagram suggested similar ideas, urging Purcell to get out there and make a change - volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen, or using his voice as a celebrity to call others to action.
Today, Purcell posted a second Vancouver-flavored Instagram, this time apologizing for his harsh words.
His second point clarifies that he really did want to start a conversation about the homeless situation in Vancouver, and calls out some commenters for their "horrific language and threats".
While this apology soothed some ruffled feathers, including those of Tourism Vancouver, some still don't believe that his original comments were using humor to make a point as he claims.
At this point, it seems like he has signed off on the conversation, which is a shame. While the apology and the intentions seem heartfelt, this would be the perfect springboard for a larger campaign to try and make a difference.
As for the weather? Well, as someone who lives in Raincity myself, all I can say is that it's not really that bad... And that complaining about the weather in one of the driest months on record is such a Vancouver thing to do that it just proves Purcell is well on his way to becoming a true Vancouverite himself!