Crucified by the CBC

He’s often accused of being strange, but he’s never been called a liar.
Yesterday, press around the world condemned Billy Bob Thornton for his uncooperative behaviour during an interview with the CBC. He was labeled with every insult in the dicktionary, while interviewer Ghomeshi was nominated for a medal for bravery and politeness.
But at the heart of the dispute was whether or not there had been a prior agreement between the CBC and Thornton that his acting career would not be discussed.
The world press ignored this part of the story, gleeful to have found another YouTube moment unfairly described as “a meltdown”.

When Thornton stopped his performance at Massey Hall to clarify the reason for his earlier uptight attitude, some members of the audience booed rather than hear him out.
Thanks to coverage by The Toronto Star, we have a chance to hear from both sides in the dispute.

Billy Bob Thornton

“Boo all you want, but I want to say something…. We’re really happy to be here, but I need to say something. I talked to this a–hole yesterday.”

“I sat down and talked with this guy. He and his producers say, `We promise you we won’t say that’ (meaning references to Thornton’s acting career). The very first thing they said was that.”

“I don’t really like sensationalism,” he added. “If you look someone in the eyes and promise them something, and you don’t do it, you don’t get the interview. That’s the way it goes.”

Jian Ghomeshi

“Our policy is that we don’t allow anybody to tell us what we can and cannot say,” said Ghomeshi. “Beyond that, it was this notion and the language that he used during the interview that I thought was unfortunate, that we were `instructed’ to say this and that. And I think that does raise interesting questions about ideas around how much journalism is to be controlled, especially when it comes to arts and entertainment and culture, and I think that that’s a concern.”

Who is telling the truth?
Seems it doesn’t matter to most people. Facts are irrelevant, as long as there’s the slightest excuse to ridicule another celebrity.

Meanwhile, the CBC and Ghomeshi prefer to leave Thornton to fend for himself as seeming payback for exposing their hypocrisy.

It’s a very old story.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted April 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This isn’t just his demeanor in his interviews, this is the way he communicates. He is defensive, and constantly combative in his personal life as well. I know, I have known him personally. He is unable to deal with anything people say to him, he suspects everyone in his immediate surroundings of ill intent; friends, lovers, relatives, you name it! In business you can only imagine how much worse he can be, but he is horrendous in daily life. He is intrusive, cruel, cowardly, accusatory, and dogmatic. He was physically abusive to all of his wives especially. “Women are all sluts ” is one of his most popular things to say. Ladies he is not a tough guy it’s all an act! If he were he’d be starring in action films in which he is OO7, or a similar character, but he cannoty get parts like that. Food for thought. Drugs? Many, he loses touch of reality and forgets where he is.Once I visited him at a hotel, when I commented that The tiffany Theater is just around the corner, he recanted “Ha what? Ha?” with a blank stare, as if to say “Who am I, and where am I?” It would be sad if he weren’t scary and insulting to others.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 12:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m sorry, but BBT could have said “I’ll let my bandmates field that one…” if he felt that the topic was becoming too much about not-his-music, or if he was pissed off. He didn’t. No, he was looking for an excuse to throw a hissy fit, and very clearly manipulated the interview until he got it.

    The band got the interview because it was BILLY BOB THORNTON (and his band); they got the Willie Nelson gig for the same reason. That BBT somehow believed he was important enough to dictate interview terms, and yet wanted to pretend that his music career had nothing to do with his acting career, is hilarious. But anyway, I’m disappointed that Jian made “journalistic integrity” the point after the fact, because it really wasn’t; he should have just ignored BBT altogether after the first crazy answers and focused on the (obviously mortified) bandmates; nobody would have noticed. Instead, he catered to BBT’s delusions by feeding the troll.

    What I heard was the first question, about the music, being met with a petulant and childlike response, so I’m not sure why anybody should have to “hear [BBT] out” later – that he believed he could do a non-apology-apology and justify his rudeness illustrates why he acted the way he did: he’s a spoiled, self-indulgent prick. Any normal person would have just answered the music questions – happily, heck, that’s what he was there for – because that was what they wanted to talk about anyway! Instead, he forced the interview back to himself and his fame, made an issue of a perceived slight, reinforcing the thing he wanted us to ignore, and playing on his fame to get treatment that a two-year-old band would never get otherwise.


  3. Fred (not my real name)
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Are you a religious man? I found just the church for you to join — Westboro Baptist Church. They will teach you a thing or two about blind hatred — “it’s a very old story”.
    Maybe you can start a website too (

  4. Anonymous
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 8:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I love Gian’s quote about “journalism”.
    Where is the journalism??? A little weasel asking a lengendary actor “when did you start your band”?
    oooohhh..riveting stuff Gian…

    Get over yourself,you’re not that important.

  5. Bob
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 8:08 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m afraid I disagree here. BBT has not been crucified so much as hoist on his own petard. I am a PR guy, and I regularly prepare people for interviews. One of my stock phrases is “if you don’t say it they can’t use it.”

    Whether or not BBT had ‘instructed’ Q’s people, whether or not there was an agreement, BBT’s reaction was worthy of ridicule, and he’s getting it. I would have expected someone with a long history of working with the media to be able to perform better than Thornton did.

    For the record, I don’t like Q, and I am not a huge fan of Ghomeshi as a broadcaster. But I think if there’s blame to be distributed in this, the vast majority goes to Thornton. My heart goes out to his bandmates, who look about ready to sink into the floor.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 7:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    bravo Allan, for bringing to light the point of the story everybody should be talking about – but nobody is. How Hollywood publicists try to control and create the story they want – not necessarily the story which the public wants or is in their best interests. They can “buy” ET and eTalk and those other Hollywood shills – thankfully they can’t buy Ghomeshi and his CBC radio show.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 7:20 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The producers should have pulled down the interview before it happened if they had no intention of agreeing to the terms Thornton demanded. That’s the whole point of the pre-interview or chat before the actual live interview. I listened to the whole thing and felt pissed off that the CBC staff had apparently known Thornton was likely to be a difficult guest but decided to go ahead with the interview anyway — a painful, awkward, lengthy segment that listeners could have been spared.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 6:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Can I take this opportunity to ridicule you, Allan?
    The terms of the agreement were definitely adhered to. Jian had NO intention of discussing BBT’s acting career. He just set up context. Which any normal audience would thank him for.
    Next time I walk into Jian’s studio to talk about my music, I’m pretty sure the audience is going to want to hear about MY acting career. Or, indeed, anything that might give them a reason to want to listen.
    BBT’s performance last night spoke for itself in that regard.

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