Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson has come out in opposition to a high-profile celebrity campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages from New York City's Central Park.
A large number of stars, including Alec Baldwin, Pamela Anderson, Anjelica Huston and Glee actress Lea Michele, have backed a drive aiming to bring in new rules to outlaw the popular tourist activity over claims the horses are mistreated.
However, Neeson has now come out fighting for the carriage drivers, who he claims will be robbed of their livelihoods.
The actor is friends with one of the drivers, fellow Irishman Colm MCKeever, whose midwife partner delivered the actor's first son, and he claims he is standing up for workers who have been unfairly targeted by Hollywood's privileged elite.
Neeson tells the New York Post, "(The drivers are) not Hollywood hip... I'm not someone who's political. I just noticed all these celebrities on the other side - and no one speaking up for the boys."
The actor goes on to insist the horses are not badly treated, adding of the animals' annual five-week rest periods, "How many people get that much time off?"
As part of his campaign, the star wrote a letter to New York City's mayor Bill de Blasio last month (Jan14) to address the issue, telling the politician, "I find it troubling, Mr. de Blasio, that your campaign promise was to fight for the common man and, yet, with the first stroke of your pen, you are willing to put 300 families on the breadline."