Russell Crowe's auction – are you not entertained?

The Gladiator star puts a brave face on a depressing night out.


Would you give A$7K for what's under the skirt?
(Image credit: Credit: Photo 12 / Alamy Stock Photo)

The Gladiator star puts a brave face on a depressing night out.

As we've noted many times, divorce is almost always bad news for all concerned, except possibly the divorce lawyers. Still, many film fans will be happy about Russell Crowe's. He has just held a "bizarre and well-publicised auction to finance the dissolution of his marriage to Danielle Spencer", says Alex McKinnon in The Guardian. The centrepieces of the evening were a series of collectables from Crowe's films, including a shirt and other items from the 1991 film Proof, which sold for A$650; and the brown Doc Marten boots from the 1992 film Romper Stomper, which sold for A$10,000. Both were bought by the National Museum of Australia.

A squall of Gladiator fever

The film that Crowe is best known for is the 2000 hit Gladiator, which took in $457m at the box office. So it's not surprising that when bidding opened on the breastplate he wore during the fight scenes, the asking price doubled in seconds, as McKinnon reports. Then tripled. Then quadrupled. Eventually, the bidding topped out at A$125,000, more than six times the reserve price of A$20,000.

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This then sparked "a small squall of Gladiator fever". The breastplate's matching wrist cuffs went for A$32,000. The wooden sword got A$20,000. The metal one fetched A$70,000. One bidder took the chariot home, A$65,000 lighter, joking that it was "something for the man cave". Even a dinosaur skull Crowe bought from Leonardo DiCaprio after a drinking bout went under the hammer and was snapped up, says Michael Hechtman in the New York Post.

Spending ten of thousands on some fake armour could strike you as silly, but at least it is understandable. What I cannot understand is why anyone would be interested in a used jockstrap, however famous its former owner. The piece of underwear in question was worn by Crowe in the boxing film Cinderella Man.

Although previously mocked, the lot proved a surprise hit, says Caleb Taylor in the Daily Mail. Crowe's undergarments were expected to fetch around A$500 to A$600; they ended up going for "a whopping" A$7,000. Who was actually mad enough to purchase the Gladiator star's "unmentionables"?

We are not told. You might think that if a used jockstrap was getting snapped up, then everything must have been, but not so. About 15% of the items up for auction remained unsold. One that failed to meet its reserve price was a 2008 custom motorcycle built by California's Orange County Choppers, painted a distinctive green and red, the colours of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the Australian Rugby League team that Crowe part-owns, says Rod McGuirk of Associated Press.

A day at the coal face

Still, overall Crowe seems happy with his evening's work, summing it up on Twitter as "$3.7m at the coal face and around $350k of conversations ongoing". He's even upbeat about the lots that didn't sell, taking comfort from the fact that "a bunch of stuff I didn't really want to sell [is] coming home". Overall, it's hard to dispute Crowe's assessment that, in financial terms, that was "not a bad hourly rate for a five-hour shift". Still, I think he doth protest too much. Would you want to spend your 54th birthday (and 15th wedding anniversary) selling off all your treasured possessions to fund a divorce?

Tabloid money the fascist regime that's not so bad after all

Rock star Bryan Adams has been invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding next month, but he'll be expected to sing for his supper, says Adam Helliker in the Sunday Express. Markle met Adams while working on the TV series Suits; Prince Harry knows him from the latter's performance at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Toronto last year.

John Lydon, the former singer of the Sex Pistols, who in a former life raged against the Queen's "fascist regime", has admitted to looking forward to the big day. "I love all that feudalism and flag-waving. Pageantry, I'm up for that," he said. "I'm not up for paying for it though."

"Getting a proper job these days is like finding a gold pig under your pillow in the morning," says Paul Routledge in the Daily Mirror. Companies are increasingly using a "labyrinth of contractors, sub-contractors and agency staff" to hire cheap, casual and insecure labour, as the Carillion scandal showed.

The TUC trade-union body calls these unfortunates "supply-chain workers", who are trapped in the labyrinth and often unable to challenge abuses relating to the minimum wage and holiday pay. Employers have a duty of care to workers in their supply chains, and joint liability should be rolled out in Britain as it is in countries such as Australia, where Fair Work laws apply.

"For years we've been given all sorts of dodgy reasons that were supposed to prove women who got paid less than men for work of equal value had brought it on themselves," says Saira Khan in the Sunday Mirror. Excuses included women not putting themselves forward or negotiating hard enough. "I don't buy a word of it."

Until last week, when companies published details of their gender pay gaps, "many of us took it on trust that we would be paid the same as male colleagues doing the same job". Now we know almost eight in ten large companies in Britain abused that trust. Next, "we must work out why women aren't getting the senior jobs. And then fix that too."