Ah, 2019. It was a simpler time. One when you could still pack up the whole family for a vacation abroad without jumping through several legal and medical hoops and, once you got there, pick fights with the locals without worrying about the potentially fatal consequences of them breathing on you. We may not be able to ugly-American our way through any exotic locations, treating them like our own personal MTV Spring Break, for the foreseeable future, but we can live vicariously through the terrible British family that blazed an underdressed and overserved trail across New Zealand in January 2019.
It all started when an Auckland woman approached the dozen or so members of the family on a local beach and asked if they wouldn't mind not leaving beer bottles and baby wipes all over the picturesque landscape. The woman claims she was immediately surrounded by five-ish women from the clan, so she started to back off and pulled out her phone, just in case. It was glorious timing: As the heated exchange continued with a man leaning extremely unheatedly against a car, a young, shirtless boy identifying himself as the man's nephew barreled up and, in a macho display that will only be cute for another few more years and possibly the least intimidating accent, threatened to "knock [her] brains out."
As the clip went viral, other New Zealanders started to realize that, hey, they'd also seen those assholes around. They threw food at innocent beachgoers, some claimed. They brought their own beer into an Auckland bar. They stole energy drinks from gas stations. Employees of various New Zealand restaurants claimed the family tried to hustle out of their bills by putting hair and bugs into their food, waiting half an hour and then claiming the food was served cold, or just plain old walking out without paying ... but not before making a huge mess and all but scrawling an incoherent manifesto on the walls in ketchup. And they did it all in tank tops and unicorn onesies. They were almost too perfectly hateable.
Within days, the whole country watched them, tracking their movements like they were the trash Beatles (so like the regular Beatles). The biggest newspaper in the country, The New Zealand Herald, started publishing a timeline of the family's shitheadery, a service "usually reserved for covering quickly unfolding national emergencies like earthquakes or tropical storms." New Zealanders started online petitions to get the family kicked out of the country. The mayor of Auckland called them "assholes," "trash," "leeches," and "worse than pigs."
Legends started springing up around the family: They stole a Christmas tree, or they terrorized a flight from Hong Kong to Auckland with their heavy drinking, unruly children, and their coup de grace, a poop-filled baby onesie left in the overhead compartment. It turned out that the dates and locations of these alleged incidents didn't match up with the family's excessively confirmed movements, which means that there was quite possibly more than one dumpster fire British family terrorizing New Zealand that winter.
Their downfall came at a Burger King when weeks into their rampage, employees reported to the police that the older members of the family had spilled drinks on their food in an attempt to get refunds and harassed other customers. Meanwhile, the younger ones banged coins on the machines and walked-thru the drive-thru to swear at employees through the speakers and ignore fast food naming conventions. Police arrived on the scene with their buddies from immigration, who issued a deportation order to the family because, apparently, "being a rolling dung boulder" is a deportable offense in New Zealand. Only a few hours later, they were pulled over by still other police because the two babies of the clan weren't riding in car seats. They just couldn't catch a break, meaning they'd been given entirely too much of a break for entirely too long.
Finally, sick of their lack of names being dragged through the mud, two of the family's adult men reached out to the media to put faces and names to the amorphous horde they'd become in the mind of New Zealand. According to John Johnson, which has to be a fake name anyway, claimed that the inciting incident at the beach all those what must have seemed like decades ago actually stemmed from harassment at the hands of the other beachgoers, who called the family "Irish scum," told them to "go home," and even slapped that wily small fellow. They only abandoned their beer bottles because they were afraid of even more xenophobic retribution, which was the state in which the lady with the camera caught them. What grade-schooler wouldn't threaten to beat up an adult woman under such circumstances, right?
How much of that is true is hard to say, but there's good reason to believe "none." While it's true that they were initially misidentified as Irish for probably bigoted reasons, Johnson's brother, David, was a little too insistent that they're "not gypsies" and "not Irish" but "English citizens," so the racism seems to be coming from inside the trailer. Johnson also claimed out of nowhere that his grandfather was the 10th richest man in England, but unless he's a 27-year-old duke, that's demonstrably untrue. One of the women in the family actually pleaded guilty to stealing energy drinks, a rope, and sunglasses from a New Zealand gas station, so they can't exactly claim it was all lies, and they didn't make a huge effort to clean up for court, either. When one of the women was asked outside why the woman stole, she barked, "Because she felt like it!" and that perpetually shirtless little boy greeted the gathered journalists to his best one-finger salute.
Still, following their deportation, the family took a long look at the events of the preceding weeks that caused them to be insulted by the mayor of the biggest city in New Zealand and decided to make amends with the locals they'd wronged and change their ways. Just kidding: They've threatened to sue him.
Top image: Via New Zealand Herald