The Movable Buffet: Dispatches from Las Vegas by Richard Abowitz

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Perez Hiton gets apology from Cirque; Angel remains silent

02:49 PM PT, Apr 20 2009

After the incident between Perez Hilton and Criss Angel at Friday's "Believe" performance I requested a comment from both Angel's publicist and Cirque's PR department. Until now Cirque has maintained that Angel's behavior was not their responsibility. But, crucially, until now that behavior has been largely confined to off stage. 
It is safe to say the experience of seeing an audience member insulted is not where any of the joy, artistry or beauty comes from in a Cirque production in Vegas. Or, at least the joy, artistry and beauty of "O," "Mystere," "Zumanity," "Love" and "Ka." Before Friday night I could not even imagine a Cirque show cast member insulting an audience member as part of the performance. And apparently neither could Cirque, which issued the following statement in reply to me just now with the information that this apology has also been sent to Perez Hilton. It is an apology, as I blogged this morning, that needed to be made. It is a bit pathetic that Angel did not have the decency to issue his own apology, but instead left that duty to Cirque. That is still better than no apology for his shamefully childish behavior. Here is the statement:
"Cirque du Soleil does not condone disrespectful behavior towards any audience member at any time.  Cirque management will address such behavior privately with any of its artists to ensure it will not happen again.

"Along with our partner, MGM MIRAGE, Cirque du Soleil wishes to extend an apology to any audience member that may have been offended by Criss Angel's inappropriate and disrespectful remarks at Friday night's performance of Believe."

And, unlike every other statement about "Believe" issued by Cirque, it is interesting to note that this one did not actually call the production by its official title, "CRISS ANGEL Believe," but just "Believe." Omen? Or, maybe just past time for Angel's Checkers speech? (photo by Sarah Gerke)
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I'm so happy that Perez has gotten an apology from Cirque. What Angel did was WRONG. Regardless of what people's perception is of Perez Hilton, Angel was out of line. No patron of an audience, whether it be a journalist or just audience member, should be berrated and insulted the way Perez Hilton was.

First and foremost, Perez Hilton is a journalist. He has never called CA those names and the worst thing he's done is be honest about no liking the show and giving a more than fair review of "BeLIEve."

Criss Angel, whom I believe (no pun) has gone from nice sweetheart of a guy to a profane thug. What gives him the right to insult another human being? Humiliate this man in front of a live audience? I am ASHAMED OF CRISS ANGEL. And to think this person is a man whom I've met on occassion and thought the world of. SHAME ON YOU, CRISS ANGEL.

In my humble opinion - Criss has every right to defend himself publicly at his show, as Perez Hilton has defamed Criss' show, resulting in ticket sale loss. Perez Hilton has created a public outcry of negative buzz and should not be protected by publicists - as he is the worst of them all. I fully stand behind Criss Angel and his right to free speech!

ANGEL IS AN "ARTIST"....I beg to differ!!
That is the catch - not only is he NOT AN ARTIST, but he does NOT belong anywhere near their shows! Maybe serving food and/or condiments in the lobby or bringing one of his skanky girlfriends!
Cirque used to hold a high standard of I am not so sure.
If one penny of my ticket price will be spent on his paycheck, I will NEVER attend one more show until this show ENDS.


Thanks, Richard. I really enjoy your reporting. And I commend you for trying to stay objective. Even when you have come to the point where you want to rip your hair out by the roots and scream, you still never waiver and report as fairly as you can.

And I agree with you that it's really pathetic that Criss Angel didn't apologize. His bosses offer an apology, but he is silent? But as you know, it's typical predictable Criss Angel. Childish, spoiled brat behavior. Avoidance of the issue. Basically...a douchebag with a temper.

I also commend Cirque du Soleil for coming out about this incident. But they are not off the hook though. I really think they have an ulterior motive in this whole thing.

The apology doesn't sound sincere to me at all. It sounds like Cirque du Soleil came out with this not because they felt like it was the right thing to do, but it was done to keep a money train rolling for them. To get past this and increase the moolah flow. They have a quirky headliner they can't control, but okay, maybe we can apologize and gloss it over because his name keeps the money rolling in. A big draw. And if we don't apologize, that money will go away. Never mind the show is horrible the moment he steps on stage and opens his mouth, and the advertising bends the truth quite a bit about what it is all about (magic versus production piece), and never mind that for a total of almost six months the show has consistently been horrid with bad reviews from critics and audiences alike, but Cirque du Soleil can now safely overlook what happened on Friday night. Because they can resume snowing tourists left and right to come see Criss Angel BeLIEve, a WAY below average and flawed show on the famed Las Vegas Strip. They choose to continue to take out their bad business decision on the audience. And not the star.

This apology gives all the appearances it is done to try to shove it under the rug and put it to rest quickly and quietly. Not to mention it might even be used to cause publicity for people to come see the "certifiable bad boy douchebag of Las Vegas" on stage. Whichever one you choose, it's clearly an attempt to cash in off of it.

It just shows money is more important than doing the right thing and causing some changes in the show and/or closing it down. The money to be raked in from false advertising and having the headliner draw people to spend money is FAR more important. And FAR more lucrative to recouping money spent to try to show a profit. And FAR more than fixing what is wrong with the show. Cirque du Soleil is willing to turn and look the other way, giving Criss Angel carte blanche to do anything he wants.

I am totally disappointed in Cirque du Soleil. They apologize, but their headliner, the culprit who uttered profanities during a performance, possibly while children were in the audience, says nothing in the way of apology. Criss Angel is totally at fault for this, but Cirque du Soleil now shoulders a lot of the blame. Cirque du Soleil better wake up and get out of this "battered wife syndrome" way of thinking in dealing with Criss Angel. It happened once. It will happen again. Because Criss Angel will not look at it apologetically, not because he is remorseful about it, but because Cirque du Soleil slapped him, be a good boy and said he should do better. And he'll go yeah, sure, I'll do that, but in reality he'll just look at it that he got away with it and nothing happened and he can do it again. With no repercussions. Get the book of excuses out, Cirque du Soleil, because we all know you can't reign in your screwball, no talent star. You're doing more to encourage him by overlooking his shenanigans more than anything else. And in the process, Cirque du Soleil's reputation will continue to be destroyed nightly.

Criss Angel is now dragging Cirque du Soleil down to his own dirtbag level. Criss Angel, through his actions, forced Cirque du Soleil to do something. And Cirque du Soleil just blew it. They think they are fixing it, but they are making it worse. And Criss Angel just manipulates them like the spoiled jerk he is.

And still Las Vegas and the tourists that visit here will suffer. Not to mention the reputation of Cirque du Soleil is continuing to spiral down a flushed toilet too. Cirque du Soleil needs to wake up and smell the coffee. But they choose not to. Because sound reasoning is drowned out by the cha-ching sound of money echoing around in their heads.


You can tell Perez himself actually wrote alot of these comments, and conveniently posted the link from his website.......

I think the first thing we need to remember is that Perez Hilton is not a freakin boy scout. His literary talents are only limited to petty gossip - it's not like he'll ever win the pulitzer prize. We are talking about a guy who makes a good living intruding on the lives of others. If you're going to swim in the mud expect to swallow a little. If Perez can dish it out, he should be able to take it. Criss shouldn't have to apologize-he didn't start it. He just had the guhl to take a stand up against it. Celebrities take a lot of criticism & abuse while living their life in the spotlight. It's exhausted & nauseating how far the press & paparazzi will go. Once in a while they have to speak-up. Like it or not. Did anyone ever think that maybe Perez should apologize to Criss??? His work is his life and who he is, and I'm sure he's been under a great deal of pressure trying to pull his weight at the thanks to guys like Perez who just want to kick him when he's down. I don't feel sorry for Perez, he's getting what he wants - more people to his website....I wouldn't expect to see him crying on his way to the bank!!!

As a Magician I am embarrassed by the antics of Mr. Sarantakos (aka Angel). I could never imagine legendary magicians like Doug Henning or David Copperfield ever lowering themselves to his level. Your audience is to be respected. I imagine that the writing is on the wall now and we'll soon see Mr. Sarantakos get his just deserves (and a huge payoff). His 'brand' has been damaged now.

I was at that show with a friend Friday night and at the end of the show when Chris brought to everyone's attention who was in the audience and said those words...No one had any idea of this 'feud' between them and that the words were meant in a derogatory way. You seriously, thought it was words between friends...clowning around!!

At first, I thought maybe Perez should have deserved an apology. Perez was the one who started this. He said negative things about CA, even about him with Holly, even if it has nothing to do with this subject. When Criss did say that to him in the audience, it's not like Perez cried. He took it in, said thank you, so why is he making such a big deal out of it? He's a 31 year old man who shouldn't be hurt by this. He makes fun of people on the daily. If he can do that, so can Criss.

Please, please, please get this man out of Las Vegas. As for the Luxor, bring back Liza!

But who would Angel's Checkers be? I'd assume he'd kill a pet if it insulted him.

Sure makes you miss the days when Vegas was Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.'s town and the mob ran it.

Instead one mob has been replaced by another. The corporate mogul with Armani suit wearing, junk bond selling types.

MK Alex -

There is no free speech at work. When we are at work, we represent our employer. While representing our employer it is our duty to behave in a manner consistent with our employer's reputation. If we do not behave appropriately than our employer has the right to reprimand, suspend, or even terminate our employment.

Angel would be perfectly within his rights by saying anything he wants on his own time unless there is a conduct clause in the contract he signed with Cirque. However, the second he insults ANYONE from Cirque's stage then Cirque can AND SHOULD punish Angel for those insults.

If you truly believe you have free speech at work, MK Alex, I believe you live in a fantasy.

A few days past Criss Angel's temper tantrum during a show, according to Norm Clarke, Mr. Rappoport says everything is back to business as usual. Cirque du Soleil apologizes for their screwy star headliner's horrible conduct. Criss Angel however is silent and says nothing, no remorse at all. The show can't be changed because of all the money invested. Cirque du Soleil is satisfied staying the course behind their no talent star and taking out their bad business decision on the public, content on ripping them off nightly to recoup money invested.

Criss Angel did something during a show that in the history of show business in Las Vegas (or anywhere) is the absolute worst thing you can do. He hurled a profanity laced insult at a member of the audience. With children probably in the audience too. Unless it is a part of the act (which it clearly wasn't), this is usually bad news. Cirque du Soleil did nothing to their star headliner. Because he draws money. Behavior is overlooked. Especially when it draws money. Because that is the ONLY thing Cirque du Soleil looks for.

Criss Angel can do anything he wants now. By his act, he has also set a precedence for anyone in any Cirque du Soleil show here in Las Vegas. You want to scream at the audience? Sure. Go ahead and do it. Criss Angel did it and it was okay. Nothing will happen to you.

Big production entertainment shows on the Las Vegas Strip are now officially dead. As of last Friday night, April 17, 2009. Criss Angel killed the quality of them. Because Cirque du Soleil cannot lead. They just follow and hope it makes money.


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