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CBC News Online | CBC News Online | 20 July 2004
LAS VEGAS - Boos and bedlam ensued at a Linda Ronstadt concert in Las Vegas on the weekend after the singer praised controversial filmmaker Michael Moore and his new movie Fahrenheit 9/11.
Before launching into her encore at the Aladdin Casino & Resort Saturday night, Ronstadt took a minute to laud Moore as a "great American patriot" who "is spreading the truth."
She also dedicated the song Desperado to Moore and encouraged the audience to go see his award-winning documentary, which criticizes the Bush administration's handling of the Sept. 11 attacks and explores the connection between the Bush family and prominent clans in Saudi Arabia, including the family of Osama bin Laden.
Ronstadt's comments drew loud boos from some audience members and prompted others to storm out of the theatre.
In an interview before the show, the longtime left-leaning Ronstadt noted that she had been doing the Moore dedication, to mixed reaction, at all her concert stops.
"She praised him and all of a sudden all bedlam broke loose," casino president Bill Timmins told the Associated Press. He called it "a very ugly scene" with people tossing their drinks into the air and tearing down posters for the one-night concert.
Timmins, who was watching the show, added that he had the 58-year-old singer escorted off the property because she "spoiled a wonderful evening for our guests and we had to do something about it."
Some concert-goers disputed his account, saying that although there were a few unruly people in attendance, the audience generally enjoyed the concert, even after the comments about Moore.
Aladdin officials said Monday the decision to evict Ronstadt was not a partisan political response but an attempt to "defuse the situation."
On Moore's website Monday, the filmmaker thanked Ronstadt for her support and advised Timmins: "Come to your senses!"