Sting ‘more comfortable’ living in NY because he hates the British class system

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The last time I paid any attention to Sting, he was declaring that his six kids do not have trust funds and they will not inherit any part of his fortune when he dies. That was two years ago, and people were trying to make it sound like Sting was worth $300 million, but I still don’t believe that. I do believe that there won’t a lot to inherit, because Sting and his wife Trudie Styler spend their money as it comes in. When you think about it, that’s the American way! Spend what you earn, future generations be damned. If he was millions of dollars in debt, he would be even more American. While it’s true that Sting does spend most of his time in America these days, it’s not because he has an American view of money. No, according to a new interview, he likes living in America because we’re not as classist as Great Britain.

He has risen from an impoverished childhood to amass a huge fortune, but Sting said his success as a rock star left him uncomfortable living in Britain. The ex-Police frontman, whose estimated wealth stands at £200 million, claimed he had to move to America because of jealousy back home.

‘I’m more comfortable here [in New York]. I think I’m divisive in England’, he said in an interview.

The 65-year-old, the son of a milkman and a hairdresser from Wallsend, North Tyneside, has lived in New York for decades. He claimed he was more accepted in American society than in Britain because people could not handle the fact he has climbed up the social ladder.

‘I don’t really belong to a class anymore, so it’s better to be in a society like this, which is a little freer,’ he said.

[From The Daily Mail]

I love when British people complain about the British class system. I don’t know why that is, but it just fills my heart with joy. I honestly don’t know how British people get anything done, because it feels like every British person just spends every day quietly assessing everyone around them to figure which class they’re in and how they should be treated accordingly. And considering that a British paper like the Daily Mail can’t even mention Sting without also mentioning his working class parentage… yeah, he has a point?

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67 Responses to “Sting ‘more comfortable’ living in NY because he hates the British class system”

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  1. eggyweggs says:

    Dear Sting,
    You think there’s not an American class system?
    Love,
    Eggy Weggs
    PS — Don’t you own a CASTLE?

    • Bettyrose says:

      IKR? Especially in NYC. I get the difference. In the U.S., if you have money or went to the best schools, people don’t necessarily ask who your parents were. But they will be checking the labels on your clothes and judging you accordingly.

      • smf3000 says:

        But checking the labels on your clothing just points to a money-class system. You can buy the Chanel coat and be welcomed in. You’ve passed their test.

        In a class system, you can be wearing a garbage bag, but your dad’s a duke? Welcome. You bought that Chanel coat, with earned money but your mom’s a secretary? You’re a try-hard, arriviste who will never leave your place of origin. Even in your house in Mayfair -you’ll always be from Streatham.

        You can never pass their test because you’ve already failed it. There’s nothing you can do. Because that test starts and ends with what you *cannot* control. Your parentage.

      • perplexed says:

        I think there’s the old money vs new money thing going on within the American class system. But perhaps the media doesn’t care about that sort of thing as much. Maybe that’s what he means. When Bruce Springsteen is referred to as working-class it doesn’t seem to be a pejorative. Conversely, Gwyneth Paltrow seems a little frustrated that no one cares that her mother is Main Line Philadelphian or that her father comes from a rabbinical dynasty. It’s used as an anecdote in articles, but nobody seems to get uber-excited about it. I think the American class system shows itself in daily interactions, but I don’t necessarily think the media is as obsessed with putting someone down for coming from humble origins.

        In the British class system, there are some like Princess Diana who didn’t seem to put on airs though. She may have been proud of her class background, but she didn’t seem snooty about it. Maybe it’s the putting on airs thing that people find off-putting (which is why Gwyneth probably irritates both British and Americans). It’s when you act out your pretension that most people seem to get annoyed and let you know your “place” (regardless of whether they’re high or down). I wonder if Sting acts snooty in private, and that’s when people remind him of where he came from.

    • T.Fanty says:

      But in America, one, you can place yourself in a class system, via earning, and two, an English person is automatically at an advantage. You just kind of go in higher. I’m the Essex born daughter of a mechanic and a typist, and everyone over here assumes that I’m posh because I’m English. He’s definitely more a fan because it works in his favor.

      • lisac says:

        Well, you can place yourself in a class to a certain degree. However, in the older cities or the original 13 colonies, you get into the Old Families. While they might seem nice and welcoming if you are self-made, you’ll never be welcomed as “one of them.” I say this as someone who experienced this because my mother was seen to marry “beneath” her, despite the fact that my father earned an MD from John Hopkins. We (my father and my siblings) were never treated on the same level as my cousins or by my grandparents’ circle.

    • Radley says:

      I think in certain circles, yes people are still checking your pedigree. But it doesn’t rise to the level of the UK with the titles and all that jazz.

      • lisac says:

        Exactly, Radley. The US is sometimes romanticized as a class-less society, but it isn’t. It may not be so blatant and it may not be everywhere, but we do have a class system – especially in certain areas – i.e., Old New York, the Boston Brahmins (what the old families are called), the First Families of Va. My grandmother was DAR-belonging, obsessed with lineage member of a Virginia First Family. She was a Randolph and a Harrison and she (and her family) were as snobby as you could imagine. She even sneered at Prince William for marrying Kate Middleton.

        I certainly don’t agree with this POV, btw.

      • Wren33 says:

        My dad’s side of the family were Boston Brahmin types, but I think that WASP class has mostly faded here at least, just in terms of pedigree and insularity. There certainly are class divisions that are both cultural and economic. But in the US, you can move up classes with education, money and accent pretty quickly and won’t get mocked, since the divisions are not really based on firm boundaries and pedigree. Now that doesn’t mean that economic mobility is actually easy here.

      • lightpurple says:

        There are still old money types who look down upon the nouveau riche.

      • lisac says:

        @lightpurple. Yes, they do, unfortunately. I think that one of Trump’s motivations. He can’t stand the fact that Old Blueblood New York disdains him.

        My grandmother used to say that a Randolph (her family) doesn’t need a title – if that gives you any idea of the level of snobbery.

      • PowerToThePeaceful says:

        THere is a literal register in the U.K. Either you are born of aristocracy or you’re a commoner. Period. That said, aren’t rock stars are their own hierarchy in the U.K.? It’s the successful rebel class – thought hey didn’t give any Fs?

      • lisac says:

        @PowerToThePeaceful. Yes, this is true on both accounts.

        But there is the American Dream myth in the US that has been amazing propaganda for many different reasons. There’s the idea that if you just work hard enough you can “make it” – be wealthy and connected, etc. It’s as much chance as anything else for anyone not born into wealth and connections.

        Then, like I’ve said, there is the myth that the US is a classless society. Or if there is one, you can earn your way into the highest ranks. That isn’t true either, especially on the East Coast. There are areas, particularly cities like Philadelphia, Charleston, SC, NYC, Boston – just generally Hampton Roads, Va., the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia metro region), places in Rhode Island like Newport and Providence, and others (generally concentrated in the 13 original colonies), which have their own aristocracy (even if it is aristo-lite in comparison to the UK).

        They also have their own “registers” which are sometimes the DAR, or whatever list in that area that dominates the debutante balls or the country clubs. (I’m not talking about any country clubs that Trump would patron; they’d not let him in). In these circles, the Kennedys were once “gauche” and “nouveau riche” and JFK was considered to have “married up,” when he married Jacqueline Bouvier. The Roosevelts and Vanderbilts are part of these circles even now – even though they don’t have the money that had formerly. These circles don’t have titles, but they may as well have. You can’t earn your way into this group. If you’ve read any Edith Wharton novels, she presents a sometimes romanticized if true vision of this society a 100 years ago – and it still exists even if it is “modernized” or even toned down somewhat. I’ve seen it firsthand. If you’ve seen Gilmore Girls, Emily Gilmore and her friends are representations of this – even if it is a somewhat affectionate depiction. It’s a fictional show, but it depicts a part of American life. I’ve experienced it firsthand, even if only begrudgingly through my family.

        You can’t earn your way in these societies anymore than you can in the UK. You have the bloodline or you don’t. You may even be as poor as a church mouse in actuality, but you’d still be “one of them,” still have the advantages inherent with the right name and connections. You’d still go Philips Exeter Academy (sort of like an American Eton – sort of) or Oldfields if you are a girl, still go to Yale or Harvard or Princeton or Vassar – because there would always be a patron or benefactor somewhere to help you out simply because you are “one of them.” So, you still have a leg up on anyone else starting out – even real “scholarships kids” who actually do earn their way into these institutions.

  2. Sixer says:

    Mostly, I think people don’t like him because he’s an utter wanker.

    And I say this as a vocal critic of the British class system.

    Give me a Michael Sheen or a David Morrissey any day. They actually have something sensible to say about class other than totally narcissistic poor mes. Sting can stay in NYC. We don’t want him.

    • manda says:

      I heart Michael Sheen!!!

      • Sixer says:

        I particularly love Michael Sheen because he is Welsh, as was my mother, and he does a lot to bring attention to and alleviate, class-based deprivation in Wales. Morrissey also talks a lot about class-based access to the arts and acting careers. I saw an interview with him the other day where he was moaning about Downturd Abbey. His word, Downturd, not mine!

        Sting, on the other hand, is just advocating a class system based on money rather than social cachet. Not sure how that is any better.

    • frisbee says:

      oops sorry was typing at the same time as you posted so naturally said an almost identical thing down thread – except I called him a tosser instead of a wanker. Bum, wanker is a much better word to describe him…

    • LaMaitresse says:

      Spot on!! I’d call him a pillock actually, cannot stand that whingey little tosser of a man. I have dual citizenship UK and Canada, have met been friends with aristocrats to ordinary people all have been lovely to me, I think the problem is with Sting, not the class system!

  3. Pri says:

    Um, a lots of Brits are OBSESSED with America.

    I went last year and people would ask me so many questions about the US! And I’m Canadian.

  4. frisbee says:

    No sorry to disappoint you Kaiser but I know very few people who actually give a toss about the class system, we do give a huge toss about the inequality it causes. In the same vein we don’t really give a toss about Sting either. There are plenty of people who are very successful and don’t feel the need to move elsewhere, nor do they feel the need to knock their own country the way this twerp does. He is not popular in the UK and it has nothing to do with having ‘risen from his working class roots’ – good luck to em all I say, but it is because he’s an arrogant self satisfied tosser and we really don’t like that at all.

    • Radley says:

      It ought to be every citizen in every country’s right to criticize things about their country. His experience is his experience. his perspective is his perspective. You don’t have to agree but why so angry and defensive??

      • frisbee says:

        I’m not angry and defensive but it’s interesting that you should think I am. I dislike him, and as you say I have the right to criticize anything in or from my own country – and that includes him.

      • Sixer says:

        The point, I think, Radley, is that Sting’s perspective is one of narcissistic injury and not a genuine critique of a class system.

      • Guesto says:

        @Radley – thank you. Well said on all counts.

      • Hooked on coffee says:

        I don’t think that anyone is dismissing the rights of citizens to criticize their own country.

        There should, however, be a distinction between those individuals who criticize because they are genuinely frustrated and want change, and those who like to bitch and moan about how provincial everyone else in their country is to every non-citizen they can find.

        The one really cares about democracy. The other is a histrionic special snowflake who doesn’t get that other countries also have their problems. The latter is also typically the kind of overpriveledged idiot that the former complains about.

    • Radley says:

      You just said he’s a twerp and an arrogant self satisfied tosser. You also took it upon yourself to speak for the entire UK by saying “we” don’t like him. That definitely comes across as hostile in print, maybe not in your head. Generally when you insult someone multiple times in just a handful of sentences , it isn’t coming from a happy place. LOL But ok.

      • Radley says:

        @Sixer

        But it should be noted that this perspective you put forth is opinion and not fact.

        I mean the dude said he gets that he’s divisive so he chucked the deuce at the UK. It’s not like he’s spewing hatred for the UK while praising himself. Mind you the writer inserts the word “jealousy” into the narrative. That’s not part of Sting’s quote.

        This is a weird reaction to his comments, imo. I don’t get it. But whatever.

      • frisbee says:

        There are very many people I know in the UK who use very ‘colourful language’, as a matter of face Sixer and I are joking about it upthread. The judgment of how ‘colourful’ or in this case what you deem to be acceptable is obviously due to your perception which I could equally argue is not coming from a happy place but as you say – ok.

      • Sixer says:

        Radley – opinion of Sting hasn’t come from nowhere. People are responding to a general view of him formed over years, not simply this comment. He is not well-liked in the UK. And, for the most part, class is irrelevant to that. He’s blaming class as narcissistic injury over this unpopularity, and, because of that, he critiques the British class system only as it pertains to himself and not in a structural way. It’s also, as I say, not why he is disliked. Compare, as I mention above, other prominent people who have WORTHWHILE critiques of class in the UK and you will not see this reaction to them.

        You seem to think the British class system is about constitutional monarchy and the anachronistic dregs of an aristocracy. And those two things are largely irrelevant to class in the UK in the way it impacts the lives of ordinary people negatively. It’s a misapprehension many Americans have.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        My husband works with Brits and they don’t like him. They know him better and I take their word for it.

    • Becky says:

      I always got the impression Sting wasn’t that working class though. His dad was an engineer and a milkman, but I remember from an old interview that his dad ran a dairy.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Didn’t avoidance of the tax structure factor into why he left the U.K.?

  5. Radley says:

    I’m anti classism too. I’m American and I just don’t get why Brits stand for this caste system with royalty and peerage and all that stuff. I get why the upper classes want to hold on to that. By why does everybody else accept it?

    And now many middle and working class Brits are doing to immigrants what the upper class has done to them. They’re trying to deny them the opportunity to improve their lot in life. Or at least make it more difficult to move on up and be accepted. The UK is as much of a mess as the US.

    • Tina says:

      Sixer and others have explained this as well, but the class system is not just royalty, peers and everyone else. It has to do with how you look and sound, and the privileges that gives you. For example, take even the phrase “middle class.” In the US, that means what it says, people who are neither rich nor poor. In the UK, that phrase conjures up the image of sleek blonde women swanning around posh supermarkets like Waitrose and planning their family’s next upmarket skiing holiday in Courchevel. You can be a clever person who has even gone to Oxford or Cambridge, but if you speak with a Birmingham accent you may have trouble getting a job as a solicitor in a law firm.

      The simplest way I can put it is to explain that even if the monarchy and aristocracy were abolished tomorrow, and all titles banned from use, the class system would still exist, and would still affect people’s lives.

      • Sixer says:

        +1 Tina. And, even more, peers and royalty have almost nothing to do with it. They are just a tiny bubble of largely ignored twits floating about being useless. They’re not the ones disenfranchising others or blocking them from social mobility. The *actual* class system operates almost entirely without them. It’s not at all about the UK being run by the lords of the manor. They’re not the ones dominating government, the judiciary, the media, the arts, and everything else.

        Imagine American WASPs having a stranglehold on two-thirds or more of all influential and powerful positions in every sphere across the whole country. THAT is the UK class system. Nothing to do with titles, which constitute an irrelevant cultural anachronism and very little more.

  6. LAK says:

    In other words, he is fawned over in America and he likes it. We just keep pointing out what a tit he is.

  7. Guesto says:

    I really like Sting. I think he’s a fabulous and extremely creative musician, and if he feels more comfortable in the US, fine by me.

  8. Margo S. says:

    I agree. I married a 1st generation Canadian, born to a british doctor, and let me tell you, they don’t take to kindly to my american hairdresser mother and canadian airport luggage loader father. It’s OK though because my husband loves me and I’m perfectly content not being close with his family! Sting, you are so right!

  9. Juniper says:

    Oh yes, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the 45% tax bracket for high rate earners in the UK. No – not a single thing.

    • JFresh says:

      Wow, is it really that high?

      • Tina says:

        Yes it is (admittedly only on income over £150k). Under Labour it was 50%, but the Conservatives reduced it to 45%.

      • Sixer says:

        Piqued my interest so I did some research!

        Income tax and payroll tax combined for worker on median income:

        UK – 31.1%
        US – 31.5%

        Tax revenue as total percentage of GDP:

        UK – 34.4%
        US – 26.9%

        Unsure why the former is so close but the latter so wide? We have a high sales tax rate of 20% for non-necessary items (so not food, etc). We have high taxes on fuel. I think obligations on employers are higher via payroll taxes etc. But neither of us seem to tax corporations much so I don’t think that can be it.

        But if our direct employment taxes are this comparable, I’d take the UK with universal healthcare and a liveable old age pension any day!

  10. hmmm says:

    Meh, he’s continues to rehab his image by changing the original narrative. It’s not the Brit class system that irks him, IMO. It’s the Brit tax system. This ‘activist’ for charitable causes doesn’t care about contributing to the commonweal of his home country. He moved to Ireland in 1980 to avoid taxes. And then to NYC. Yet he continues to own several homes around the UK. Greedy, self-indulgent, mendacious bugger. So much for social consciousness.

  11. arock says:

    off topic and no shade to him, but does it look like hes had some work done?

  12. Matomeda says:

    Umm many Americans are not “future generations be damned”- sadly, we work multiple jobs and it’s barely enough to pay bills, so there isn’t much left over for inheritance. I sold my engagement ring to keep the lights on. I opened savings accounts and 529s for my kids, and every gift of money from others goes in there. But as of right now, I cannot contribute. It is my dream to pay for their college, but I don’t even have a 401k 😢

    • Millie says:

      Well said. Furthermore, it is a parent’s job to ensure that their children will become self sufficient adults. My mom was worried about not being able to leave my sister and I anything because she decided to retire early for health reasons. My sister and I told them both (my mom and dad) that they had already done their jobs as parents.

      My sister and I both have decent jobs (although as a teacher I will never make much money :) and the “know-how” to take care of our ourselves and plan for our future. Their job now, is to live their lives and be happy. They should take vacations while my mom is still healthy They should buy that new TV or sound system. They worked REALLY REALLY hard to earn that money/ they should spend it in ways that make them happy.

      They spent 28 years helping my sister and I grow up, afford college and grad school with minimal student loans…Now, their job is simply to be my mom and dad; to be there to give advice and be my sounding board when needed.

      My sister and I want the last check they ever write to bounce!

  13. squeezeo'lime says:

    Translation: I made the money and I bought a goddamn castle, why am I still not accepted by the aristos!!! boohoo.

  14. aenflex says:

    Sting is STILL smokin hot.

  15. spidey says:

    Wow, well that certainly got the discussion going!

  16. Cinesnatch says:

    I guess he’s more than just a legal alien living in New York, lol

  17. GenevieveNatalia says:

    Wait. WTF happened to Sting’s face?

  18. JFresh says:

    Hilarious writing here, Kaiser!!!

  19. Chaz says:

    My Dad went to school with Gordon aka Sting. He has always said ‘he was a d*** then and now he is a pompous one.*

    When you’re essentially living the American dream and are by American class standards in the upper echelon of Hollywood (not to be mistaken for Mayflower echelon), then it is a wee bit hypocritical to wave your hand with great disgust at the Brit class system.

    He is a working class boy who has had a fortunate path in life. Good for him. He has found his new home and a society he finds less structured in terms of class (which just makes him deluded).

    The other thing that my father finds infuriating is when big names get tossed a title, Sir this and Dame that, when they have spent their entire lives not paying taxes to the UK.

  20. Eden75 says:

    I was just watching Stephen Fry in America and Sting was talking about this. The show is from 2008, so this isn’t new news. He’s said that for years.

  21. Annetommy says:

    Just came here to say this guy has always creeped me out. Even when he was younger and quite the heartthrob, just something about him. He hadn’t improved with age. Something unpleasant in his expression. I know, he could be a great guy…