Tuesday, July 20, 2004

What country do you live in?

Now for something a little off-topic.

It seems that Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas on the weekend after dedicating the song "Desparado" to filmmaker Michael Moore and his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."
That dedication angered some Aladdin guests who spilled drinks, tore down posters and demanded their money back, said casino spokeswoman Sara Gorgon.


A statement issued by the Aladdin said Ronstadt had been "escorted out of the hotel" just after her performance and said the performer would "not be welcomed back."

"Ms. Ronstadt was hired to entertain the guests of the Aladdin, not to espouse political views," the casino said.
Moore sent an open letter to Bill Timmins, President Aladdin Casino and Hotel:
I understand from the news reports I've read that, after Linda Ronstadt, one of America's greatest singers, dedicated a song to me from your stage on Saturday night, you instructed your security guards to remove her from the Aladdin, which they did.

What country do you live in? Last time I checked, Las Vegas is still in the United States. And in the United States, we have something called "The First Amendment." This constitutional right gives everyone here the right to say whatever they want to say. All Americans hold this right as sacred. Many of our young people put on a uniform and risk their lives to defend it. My film is all about asking the questions that should have been asked before those brave soldiers were sent into harms way.

For you to throw Linda Ronstadt off the premises because she dared to say a few words in support of me and my film, is simply stupid and Un-American. Frankly, I have never heard of such a thing happening. I read that you wouldn't even let her go back up to her room at your hotel! Are you crazy? For crying out loud, it was a song DEDICATION! To "Desperado!" Every American loves that song! Sure, some people didn't like the dedication, and that's their right. But neither they nor you have the right to remove her from your building when all she did was exercise her AMERICAN right to speak her mind.

Of all the things that go on in Las Vegas, this is what creates the need for serious action? What about the other half of the crowd at the Aladdin who, according to the Las Vegas Sun, cheered her when she made her remarks? Did you throw them out, too?

I think you owe Ms. Ronstadt an apology. And I have an idea how you can make it up to her -- and to the millions of Americans you have offended. Invite her back and I'll join her in singing "America the Beautiful" on your stage. Then I will show "Fahrenheit 9/11" free of charge to all your guests and anyone else in Las Vegas who wants to see it.

Mr. Timmins, as the song "Desperado" says -- "Come to your senses!" How can you refuse this offer? I await your reply.

Michael Moore
Director, "Fahrenheit 9/11"

UPDATE: The NY Times wonders why Mrs. Ronstadt was eject when it was certain members of the audience who were misbehaving:
Perhaps her praise for Mr. Moore, even at the very end of her show, did ruin the performance for some people. They have a right to voice their disapproval - to express their opinion as Ms. Ronstadt expressed hers and to ask for a refund. But if their intemperate behavior began to worry the management, then they were the ones who should have been thrown out and told never to return, not Ms. Ronstadt, who threatened, after all, only to sing.