Man whacks Beckham nativity set

The Flip Side

December 15, 2004

When you get right down to it, nothing says Christmas like David and Victoria Beckham in a nativity scene.

It just seems that not everyone may agree.

The likenesses of the Beckhams - he of soccer fame, she the former Posh of the Spice Girls - were part of a controversial nativity scene at Madame Tussaud's wax museum in London. The exhibit featured the Beckhams as Joseph and Mary and included President Bush as one of the three Wise Men, actors Hugh Grant and Samuel L. Jackson as shepherds, and Australian singer Kylie Minogue as an angel.

But, over the weekend, a man attacked the exhibit, punching the faces of the Beckhams. The man, in his 20s, stood in line behind other visitors before repeatedly punching the waxwork figures and escaping into the street.

So we're wondering: Suppose the man had more time and he had been asked what he planned to do to other wax figures in the display. "I want to," he'd say, "bend them like Beckham." (Cue laugh track.)

A spokesman for Madame Tussaud's said: "I can confirm there was an incident on Sunday morning. A visitor launched an unprovoked attack. Two figures were extensively damaged: Posh and Becks. They are being repaired and will be put back when they are finished. The display is closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future."

(That sound you hear is thousands of phones being dialed to cancel flights to London.)

The attack came days after church leaders described the nativity scene as tasteless. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, called the scene "disrespectful," and the Vatican said it was "certainly in very poor taste."

"There is a well-understood tradition that each generation interprets and reinterprets the nativity ... but, oh dear!" said the Rev. Jonathan Jenkins, spokesman for the archbishop of Canterbury, who leads the world's 77 million Anglicans.

"We are not suggesting for one minute these celebrities actually represent the biblical characters themselves," read a statement from Madame Tussaud's, "and we are sorry if it has been misconstrued as such."

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