Sydney - Hollywood star Russell Crowe was panned on Wednesday for posting online a video shot from outside his Sydney office of lights over city parkland that he likened to a UFO.
The Oscar-winning actor uploaded a link to a YouTube video on his Twitter feed with the comment: “UFO? Time lapse photos outside RC's Wooloomooloo Office (THESE ARE REAL!)”.
The 23-second clip, which Crowe said was taken as he and a friend were attempting to capture images of fruit bats in the skies over Sydney's Botanic Gardens at dusk, shows a pink, glowing object shoot across the screen.
Viewers, however, said the clip was laughable, with one urging Crowe: “Please never post anything online again Russell. It's just embarrassing”.
Others assumed it was a joke or offered their own explanations for the phenomenon - a mobile phone, refraction from passing car headlights, reflected fluorescent lights from the room behind or lens flare.
Crowe defended himself, saying the footage was shot on a “Canon 5D, no flash, can't be a lens flare because it moves, camera is fixed.”
Some were more charitable, with one saying “without imagination mankind would not have evolved.... If it makes Russell happy, let him believe it is a UFO and not some light interference. Be kind people, be kind”.
But most tended to agree with user RoadToDawnZ, who said “Come on RC. It could have been more believable without all the editing. Just raw footage would have made it viral.
“Anyways, loved you in Les Mis.”
New Zealand-born Crowe, winner of an Academy Award for Gladiator, is no stranger to controversy, famously throwing a telephone at a New York hotel concierge in 2005 when he could not get through to his wife in Australia.
He also pinned a British TV producer to a wall in 2002 for curtailing a BAFTA award acceptance speech. More recently, he apologised in 2011 after an apparent anti-circumcision tirade on Twitter.
The “UFO” video can be viewed at youtube - Sapa-AFP