A close friend of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin said today that he was appalled at reports of people illegally cashing in on the exuberant entertainer’s legacy.
A 20-year-old woman was arrested on Queensland state’s Gold Coast for allegedly selling fake Steve Irwin stickers she said were to raise money for his Wildlife Warriors fund, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported today.
The woman appeared at Southport Magistrates Court today and was fined 200 Australian dollars (€105), the ABC said.
Irwin’s close friend and manager, John Stainton, said he was devastated by reports that some people were using the entertainer’s profile to turn a profit.
“Steve would be absolutely appalled by this,” Stainton told ABC radio.
“The fact that people are cashing in, so to speak, on his legacy, trying to sell stuff like that ... all of those things are really just not on, they’re just not Australian.”
Irwin was killed on September 4 when he was pierced in the chest by a stingray’s barb while filming a new TV show off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
A public memorial service for the popular TV star will be held Wednesday at the “Crocoseum” amphitheatre in the grounds of Irwin’s family-owned Australia Zoo.
Some 3,000 grieving fans, hundreds of whom camped on the street overnight, were rewarded Friday with tickets to the service.
The free tickets were distributed at three locations across Irwin’s home state of Queensland, and were snapped up within about 15 minutes. Some burst into tears after the tickets ran out.
Terri Irwin and the couple’s eight-year-old daughter, Bindi, are to speak at the service, along with Irwin’s father, Bob.
Prime Minister John Howard and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie are also expected to attend the ceremony.