Michael Bublé is furious at the rioting mob that turned violent, destroyed property, and looted stores in Vancouver Wednesday night - and he aims to do something about it.
The singer took a break from his U.S. tour to fly into his hometown Wednesday night to see the final game. He witnessed his beloved team, the Vancouver Canucks, lose the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins. Afterward, he headed toward the airport, but on his way out of the city, he caught a glimpse of the rioting that had begun in the downtown streets. When he arrived in Connecticut, he says he quickly turned on the television and saw the angry mob torching more cars and looting stores.
"I was crushed," he said from a tour stop in New Hampshire Friday night. "I felt sick inside. I'm so proud of my city and any chance I get I promote it. I tell people how great we are. It's crushing to have a legacy like that tarnished by some losers."
This weekend he launched an ad campaign in Vancouver newspapers, encouraging people to come forward with their photographic evidence and to turn in the guilty parties.
"They're trash, basically. It was gutless and disgusting behaviour. And I'm grateful for the police and firemen and paramedics who put their lives on the line, because there were people who were so scared. And that mob mentality could have killed somebody."
Mr. Bublé, who just made No. 5 on the Forbes list of highest paid musicians in the world, says he is willing to use his high profile and even put up cash to track down and help convict anyone guilty of a criminal act during the riot. Through his manager Bruce Allen, Mr. Bublé has extended an offer to Vancouver's chief of police, Jim Chu, to do whatever he can to help flush out rioters who contributed to the damage.
"The chief was very appreciative," Mr. Allen said. "He said he was getting tremendous co-operation from the public. And the cops are buoyed up by the outpouring of support from the public."
"Just like everybody else, I was embarrassed, ashamed and angry and the anger hasn't gone away," Mr. Bublé said. "I went on stage the next night in Connecticut and congratulated the audience on their Stanley Cup win - and then I said I was embarrassed that some people in our city made us look like the Jerry Springer Show."
Mr. Bublé's mother and other relatives were among a crowd trapped inside a downtown Vancouver theatre when the riot broke out. The audience was at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the musical Wicked, but by show's end, they found themselves unable to leave because outside cars were burning and men were brawling. Inside the theatre, Mr. Bublé says his mother, grandmother and little niece and nephew were terrified.
"They were traumatized. They weren't allowed to go into the lobby because they were worried people were going to break the windows.
"Afterward, they had to walk down to Hastings to get to their ride. My mother watched an older lady outside the theatre crying, and she was with her seven-year-old granddaughter. They'd come up from Seattle and couldn't get back to their hotel. So my mother took them back to her house so they could stay with her.
"I'm sure there are tons of stories out there like that," he added.
"I'm disgusted by what the rioters did to the city. I'm disgusted by how they made us look, but I'm more disgusted by how they destroyed the privileges that we deserved to have. We should be able to have television outside during the playoffs, and have viewing parties, and people hanging out, being peaceful. They took that away from us.
"It's easy to sit back and complain. Let's do something about it," he said, making a plea. "This is not going to happen in my city, to our city.
"We have to continue to circulate the faces and names of those guilty parties. Let's get them lots of publicity so that the police can make some arrests - and so we can give them a very, very special round of applause."