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Cast member Billy Bob Thornton attends the premiere of the movie "Eagle Eye" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California September 16, 2008. (MARIO ANZUONI)
Cast member Billy Bob Thornton attends the premiere of the movie "Eagle Eye" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California September 16, 2008. (MARIO ANZUONI)

And without saying goodbye to Jian Ghomeshi

Lumps in the gravy? Billy Bob leaves Canada Add to ...

Actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton has tried to put his problems with Canada and a certain CBC radio host behind him - by leaving the country altogether.

Last week, a message posted on the website of singer Willie Nelson, who was touring the country with Mr. Thornton and his band The Boxmasters, said that the group "will not be continuing the Canadian tour" with Mr. Nelson.

The band was scheduled to play two more Canadian shows on its six-city tour, one in Montreal and one in London, Ont.

The announcement comes only two days after the Oscar-award-winning performer was ridiculed for the strange tantrum he threw during an interview with CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi, who upset Mr. Thornton when he made an on-air reference to the drummer's celebrated acting career.

What began as a few awkward minutes of dialogue, however, turned into an Internet and television sensation, as hordes of listeners turned to CNN, blogs and YouTube to hear Mr. Thornton attempt to bewilder Mr. Ghomeshi by pretending not to understand simple questions and complaining about Canadian audiences.

Mr. Ghomeshi asked when his pop-country band first formed. The actor's response? "I don't know what you're talking about."

"How so?" Mr. Ghomeshi responded.

"I don't know what you mean by that," Mr. Thornton repeated.

The interview went downhill from there, with Mr. Thornton claiming that he had never met the country star Mr. Nelson - with whom the band shared a stage on their tour - and answering a question about his musical roots by rambling about a monster magazine he said he subscribed to as a youngster. It wasn't until seven minutes and fifteen seconds into the interview that Mr. Thornton finally made it clear that his behaviour was in response to Mr. Ghomeshi introducing him as an actor as well as a musician.

He explained that the show had been "instructed" not to refer to his previous career, and he went on to say that Canadian audiences were like "mashed potatoes without the gravy."

Almost immediately, a flurry of posts appeared on the Internet about the encounter - mostly by listeners angered by how Mr. Thornton had treated Mr. Ghomeshi.

Apparently, Mr. Thornton didn't get the message that most weren't sympathetic to the slight he believed he had suffered.

Media reports said that when the Boxmasters took the stage last week at Toronto's Massey Hall, Mr. Thornton tried to explain his actions and called Mr. Ghomeshi an "asshole."

There was no reason given for the Boxmasters cancellation in the messages posted on Mr. Nelson's website, or the message posted on the site for London's John Labatt Centre.

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