In an Interview that has got the city of Toronto... Canada... and even The Huffington Post and Perez talking, Billy Bob Thornton and his band, The Boxmasters sat down with CBC radio's Jian Ghomeshi on his arts, culture and entertainment program "Q", and boy was it an awkward and incredibly hostile interview. He eventually walks out on the interview, not even staying to watch his band perform (he didn't bring his drums to the studio).

When I first began listening to it, I thought that he was 'drugged' up or something, because he was acting very aversive and not answering questions directly. It was later revealed that Thornton was 'angry' that Ghomeshi had mentioned that he is an actor (which Ghomeshi says, was only mentioned in the context of Thornton's musical career).

Ghomeshi is a seasoned CBC journalist who has interviewed literally everyone that has come through Toronto (whether they are indie bands or politicians). His interviews are always interesting, enlightening and on point and his listeners have come to expect nothing but quality programing. (And by quality, I mean substance. His interviews are well researched and he never relies on cheap sensational tactics). I applaud him for the way he conducted the interview as he was well within his rights (as many have suggested) to simply kick him out of the studio.

This being the case, I was shocked, appalled, and slightly offended by Billy Bob Thornton's treatment of Jian during their interview. He seemed unnecessarily sensitive and defensive and well, for lack of a better word... pretty damn hostile. He even went so far as to insult Canada! WHO INSULTS CANADA! This great Nation? Thornton says "'Canada is like mashed potatoes without gravy ..."
I honestly, used to like this man, but after this interview, I have lost ALL respect for him.

Listen to the uncut podcast here or watch the interview unfold below. Read Jian Ghomeshi's response to the interview in the National Post here.

Be sure to comment as I am really curious to see what all of you have to say.

Love as always,
update: Thornton has canceled the remaining dates of his Canadian tour after being heckled at the Toronto show that evening. His publicist has sited that the guitarist has come down with the flu. (yeah... okay) - National Post

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D I X O N said... @ April 09, 2009 12:05 AM

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Q. That is an absolute understatement. I religiously listen to the podcast and find myself talking about the arts and culture world that Jian Ghomeshi frames out everyday. It's dinner table talk. Most times listening to Q on the bus is the best part of my day. As you accurately suggested, he is a consumate professional and a truly talented interviewer. The best. He really is.

That being said, this interview makes my stomach churn. I keep trying to find a way to jump in and stop the events. Billy Bob Thorton doesn't deserve to be in studio Q or have the opportunity to speak to anyone in that way. It's no surprise that Jian was kind and patient and attempted to move the interview in a positive direction. He provided a perfect amount of context and information in his beautifully written openings he seems to provide every one of his guests. If you need your producers to instruct the media in the ways of off limit topics, perhaps you're not fit for a press junket. Or maybe you're just insecure. Thorton seems diluted and full of himself at best. He believes his own hype and then acts like he doesn't care.

I didn't have any opinion of the actor or the musician. Now I just have a bad one.

I'm all for having a bit of fun with interviews and the death trap of celebrity, but being an egotistical asshole has nothing to do with celebrity or being a good person. You can see his bandmates cringe and hang their heads at ever terrible comment he makes. That's not a good sign for the life of the band.

But let's get some perspective. If nothing else it was revealed once more that Jian loves his country. Disrespect the studio environment and even his series of intelligent questions, fine, but make a dig at Canadians and Jian stops it all right there. Potatoes without the gravy? Ridiculous. We should take it as a compliment that we don't throw things at each other at concerts.

Good on ya Jian.

D I X O N said... @ April 09, 2009 12:36 AM

"I actually confront him and say 'you're angry because I mentioned you're an actor." And he said 'yeah.' And he starts to go on 'you wouldn't ask Tom Petty these questions.' The reality is I was willing to respect the boundaries of doing an interview focused on his music, but I think it would irresponsible as a journalist and to my listeners across North America who could not get some context ... That's kind of absurd. With all due respect Tom Petty hasn't made 20 movies and won an Oscar." -Jian

With all due respect Billy Bob, you are not Tom Petty.

Phoebe said... @ April 09, 2009 1:01 AM

This is going to seem like a stupid comment after Dixon, BUT...you know a story's big when even Perez Hilton is blogging about it! :-P

At least it gets the CBC some American attention.

SLICE magazine said... @ April 09, 2009 1:12 AM

Perez Reaction here: http://perezhilton.com/2009-04-08-you-must-watch-this-4#comment-3647414

Karen said... @ April 14, 2009 1:49 PM

He probably just misses Angelina.

nomad said... @ April 21, 2009 3:21 AM

it takes real skill to look as spacey as Billy Bob did in that interview...

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