Vegas Hotel's New Owner Embraces Ronstadt
While Linda Ronstadt's admirers claim the crowd's reaction to her onstage pro-Michael Moore remarks last weekend was not as virulently anti-Ronstadt as a Las Vegas hotel manager had painted it, her detractors claim this is the best publicity the singer has had in years.
Either way, a new wrinkle has been added to the saga.
The Aladdin Hotel, which booted Ronstadt Saturday night after she praised the Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker, is currently in bankruptcy and is about to get a new owner – one who says he will gladly welcome Ronstadt back to the hotel's stage, the Associated Press reports.
"We respect artists' creativity and support their rights to express themselves," Planet Hollywood CEO Robert Earl said in a statement. "We were very sorry to hear about the unfortunate circumstances of this past Saturday night and want to make it clear that Planet Hollywood has never, in our 13 year history, restricted any artist's right to free speech, and we will continue with that policy once we take ownership."
Earl also says that he'd like to take Moore up on the filmmaker's offer to join Ronstadt on the Aladdin's stage and sing "America the Beautiful" when Planet Hollywood assumes ownership, which could be as early as September.
Onstage at the Aladdin, Ronstadt, 58, called Moore "a great patriot" and advised the 4,500-strong audience not to miss the Bush-whacking documentary.
Current Aladdin President Bill Timmins claimed the remarks caused an uproar, with many patrons booing and walking out. Timmins, who is British, said he forced Ronstadt off hotel property, even denying her access to her private suite, after her remarks.
A spokeswoman for the current Aladdin ownership, Tyri Squyres, said Ronstadt "was there to entertain not make a politically charged comment," reports Reuters.
In an interview this week with the Los Angeles Times, Ronstadt said she will still praise Moore at her concerts: "This is an election year. I want people to get their head up out of their mashed potatoes and learn something about the issues and go and vote. I'm not telling them how to vote. I'm saying, 'Get information about the issues.'"
As for Ronstadt's performance abilities, the often conservative Wall Street Journal, in a review by critic Jim Fusilli, says in Thursday's editions about a recent Ronstadt concert: "She doesn't need the kind of publicity to drive her career. As a musician, she still has the goods."