Liam Neeson gave a guided tour of a stable that holds some of New York City's controversial carriage horses to city council members and the press last weekend, provoking the ire of animal welfare activists and prompting the mayor to fire back.
According to the New York Times, Neeson has a personal connection to the drivers:
Mr. Neeson said he has been walking around Central Park admiring the horses for 20 years. He also has a personal connection to the carriage drivers, many of whom, like the actor, are Irish: The wife of one driver has worked as a nanny for Mr. Neeson's children.
But at a news conference on Sunday, new mayor Bill de Blasio said the horses are still on the way out, despite Neeson's star power. The mayor said he would visit the stables to talk to drivers about getting jobs driving the antique electric cars he proposed as replacements.
"I used to be someone who thought the carriages were sort of part of life in New York City, and I've traveled my own journey coming to the view that it really didn't make sense anymore," Mayor de Blasio said a press conference. According to ABC, he added: