shafted by shatner


I’m not sure how public this story has gotten, but mere hours after I posted images of William Shatner in 3D, the following events unfolded (cooincidence?).  I thought I’d turn the mike over to my good friend Howard Cronson, who is at the center of the action…

It’s Thursday, August 6, and I’m sitting at home watching the Red Sox play the Yankees. As a devout Boston Red Sox fan living near Boston, during a game this is the only spot you’ll find me in.   In fact, it would take an Act Of God to pull me away from a Sox game.

Well, an Act Of God or William Shatner, that is.  So why does he mock me so?

The original plan for tonight was to ignore the game, grab my wife and drive to Providence, RI, where Shatner was to receive a humanitarian award from the Rhode Island Film Festival.  This would have been followed up with a screening of William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet (based on the Has Been album he recorded a few years ago).  Shatner was also going to speak and do a Q&A.

I was very excited about this. I have been a Star Trek fan since I was an impressionable 11-year-old, way back in 1975. The Original Series was the only Star Trek around at the time and, as far as I was concerned, Captain Kirk was The Man. He always saved the day, always got the girl and always beat up the bad guy.  Who didn’t want to be Captain Kirk?


Bill and his adoring fans before Tuesday

I had only seen Shatner in person once before, at a Creation con in Boston probably 20 years ago. I was anxious to see him again because, to be honest, Bill’s not getting any younger. He turned 78 in March and opportunities to see him in-the-flesh are not unlimited.

So I had arranged to leave work early, pick up my wife and drive down to Rhode Island for this exciting and rare opportunity.  Well, it was exciting until I got an email from my friend ‘The Hey’ which had a simple subject line:  Shatner Not Coming.

Tuesday, the Providence Journal Web site posted this article:  http://newsblog.projo.com/2009/08/shatner-changes.html .

Basically, Shatner’s representative sent the head of the film festival a short email over the weekend citing a “contractual committment”.  Not only is this a punch in the gut to Bill’s loyal fans, but the festival has to refund $5,000 worth of tickets that had already been sold.


Shatner was apparently too busy to talk to fans

The whole thing stinks to me. If Shatner truly did have a conflict, he would have known about it way in advance and not left the festival hanging mere days before his appearance. He also should have taken responsibility and called the promoters himself to apologize for the mix-up instead of having some faceless “personal handler” send an email. I used to be involved with organizing conventions, and when an actor did have to cancel, they always called personally to let us know and would also often go out of their way to help us find a suitable replacement.

This is not just a professional blunder but also a betrayal of his fans – fans like me support celebrities like Shatner, and the ones that are lucky enough to be part of a long running sci-fi franchise like Star Trek owe their professional and financial success to us; we watch their TV shows and movies, go to conventions to hear them speak, stand in line (and often pay) for their autographs and buy their books and DVDs.  What do we ask in return?  Just show up as promised! 

I’m pretty disappointed in William Shatner right now. I still love Captain Kirk, but the guy who originally brought him to life fell down a few notches in my book.


After Tuesday


Thanks to Howard for taking the time to tell us about this developing story.  Care to share your thoughts on the matter?  In addtion to commenting here, make your voice heard and send a note to where it really counts: FanMail@WilliamShatner.com


20 Responses to “shafted by shatner”

  1. August 6, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Serves you right. He’s not Kirk, he’s not even needed to be a decent human. He’s a business, a product, and in the end it’s risk versus benefit.

    Pissing off a bunch of crying fans at a Con for only $5000 ia a win for him. Oh and before you think you’ll mount some counter-Khan! (so clever) movement…he’s done it before…and more than once.

    Move along and praise the man for his genius as a product. I do!

  2. 2 darthmojo
    August 7, 2009 at 12:08 am

    PUBIC HAIR: Risk vs benefit? Perhaps you’d like to explain the benefit from bailing on 5,000 people at the last minute who were there to promote YOUR MOVIE. Pissing them off is a win for him? Huh? It sounds like you’re trying to be clever by saying something like “risk vs benefit” but you have no idea what you’re actually talking about. Then again, you *are* a pubic hair. Maybe you can settle the age-old debate – is Shatner’s pubic hair real?

    Personally, what this sounds like to me is Shatner probably just forgot that he had a gig in Rhode Island and when he was reminded a few days before he went, “where? Rhode Island? Fuck that.”

    He probably just didn’t want to go and blew it off. In some form or other we’ve all been there and we’ve all selfishly flaked on people. But when it’s 5,000 people who simply want to adore you and cheer for you and PAY for the privilege… I don’t care how much you’d rather stay home, you FIND a way to get up off your ass and let those people who made you who you are worship you! Boo-hoo, life is so tough.

  3. 3 ety3
    August 7, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Why is everyone assuming Shatner himself forgot/screwed up and not a Shat-lackey? Wouldn’t an underling likely be in charge of scheduling and therefore less accomdating, thoughtful and helpful upon a major screwup?

    Just something to consider before the Internet gets a digital rope to hang the man.

  4. 4 Colonial Warrior
    August 7, 2009 at 3:42 am

    Well I can definately understand the fans reactions especially since they generally pay way in advance to the convention, setup their vacation time and get that all locked in usually several months in advance. They get their hopes up, they go over in their minds eye just what they want to say, once they get to meet the actor they’ve been waiting for etc. Yes some fans do obsess over stuff like that. Generally though the convention will have some sort of buyer beware type message on their sites which would state something like All guest appearances are subject to cancellation due to professional commitments. Though both the convention and generally all actors will do everything possible to ensure their appearance there are times when their career gets in the way. It’s sorta like hmm do this convention for $5000 or do this job for $150,000. The acting contracts can be rather hard when it comes to dates and time requirements due to the simple fact that they have set dates for location(s) usage, logistic support equipment/personnel committed stuff like that. If it happens to fall on a date where it conflicts with the convention well the convention will always take the back seat.

    Is it the first time this has happened with Shatner, no, for that matter most actors have had to go thru with this at some point. Are the fans let down or upset, generally yes they are but most understand how the industry is. July was supposed to have Kevin Sorbo at Shore Leave and just a couple of weeks if that much before the convention he had to back out because he got a gig someplace. I would wager that Even Mojo has had to reluctantly bow out of a convention due to last minute scheduling by the studio on something for the series/movie he’s currently working on at the time. Does he know how it affects the fans? Sure he does ( Remember Mojo was also a fan long before he was a pro in the industry). The same is probably true in Shatners case.
    I’m not saying it’s ok, I’m not saying that doesn’t matter but the simple fact of the situation is these things will happen. Sometimes it’s beyond the actors/artists control. Both parties get bummed out over these things but they know that at some future event they will make it.
    If I were to be going to the R.I. convention simply because Shatner was going to be there, yea I would be bummed out but I would get over it and still go anyhow. I just love conventions in general but that’s just me. I’ve never met Shatner yet but I have met the rest of the cast from TOS. Most of them in one shot back in DC in 1976 ( including the Great Bird himself).
    There is also another thing to consider now it probably does not apply with Shatner this time but sometimes it’s due to health reasons Like with William Campbell they have tried several times to get him but his health has gotten in the way and they understand things like that will crop up.
    But like the old saying goes Shat Happens…

  5. 5 The Hey
    August 7, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Even if the screw up was the Shat-lackey’s fault, it still would have been professional of The Shat to call and apologize himself.

    As far as I know he was not getting a fee either and the $5000 was to benefit the festival and the Humanitarian Society that was honoring him. Shatner was appearing to accept the award and the promote his project but he didn’t see fit to honor the award support the project.

    I hope the film festival sends him his award (after “accidentally” dropping it off a staircase a few times) to remind him of the commitment is accepted and then broke.

  6. 6 Bronson BeerBelly
    August 7, 2009 at 5:22 am

    I lost all respect for “The Shat” from years of hearing from his TOS costars what he was like to work with through the series AND all the movies.
    Fan of the show I may be, I can’t bring myself to ever be a fan of the man.

    The Next Gen or Firefly casts on the other hand… :)

  7. August 7, 2009 at 6:33 am

    I guess you could say that Rhode Island has now been Shat on…

    I love The Shat. I was dissappointed when I heard the rumor that he intentionally flubbed lines during fiming TWOK that would have indicated Sulu was getting promoted to captain, and Harve Bennett dumped the whole scene. But he’s The Shat. He gets to pull crap like that.

    He’s the captain, that’s why.

    I’d be seriously pissed if this happened to me, though. I guess I’m glad I never heard about it, because I live close enough to Providence to have bought a ticket and gone if I’d have know. Then I’d have been Shat on, too.

  8. 8 MrNeutronSF
    August 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into stories about Shatner if a close friend of mine hadn’t had the dubious honor of working with him in San Diego in the 90s. I got an earful of how rude he was to fans and staff. My friend can;t even watch Star Trek anymore because his behavior was so tacky and rude she can no longer separate the man from the performance. A former co-worker had a meeting with Shatner and his people around the same era and he relates that the man was rude and vugler.

    While I do think some of the stories are exaggerations, I have no doubt he can be and often acts an ass.

  9. 9 supes
    August 7, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Would a better title for this post be: “Shat on by Shatner” ?

  10. 10 Little Guy
    August 8, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Solution: bring in George Takei or Kevin Pollack to ‘accept’.

  11. August 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Ah, this brings back memories. William Shatner and Ridley Scott should make a movie together. They appear to have some things in common.

  12. August 9, 2009 at 10:27 am


    Hey, wait a minute. I’m a yellow sprocket with staring eyes and an unhappy frown. Mojo, how did you know?

  13. August 13, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Like with William Campbell they have tried several times to get him but his health has gotten in the way

    Are they fracking crazy in trying to get Campbell to come to cons? He’s around the age (82) where you are to be admitted into the performer’s lodges that he raises (raised) money for. If he’s having health problems that should be a sign to many that he can’t do these appearances any more, and should stop.

    As for what happened with Shatner-Shit, not shat, happens.

  14. 15 Paul Harper
    August 14, 2009 at 1:41 am

    “Fan of the show I may be, I can’t bring myself to ever be a fan of the man.”

    I feel *exactly* the same way about Babylon 5 and Straczynski, so I understand totally where you’re coming from on this one.

  15. August 14, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I feel *exactly* the same way about Babylon 5 and Straczynski, so I understand totally where you’re coming from on this one.

    Straczynski’s earned the right to be difficult, mostly because of the assholes he’s had to deal with in the TV industry at the executive level. Shatner has not, and his not following proper procedure in informing the Rhode Island Film Festival he wasn’t coming is just plain rude and declasse.

  16. 17 Psion
    August 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Paging Chris Pine. Chris Pine, please report to Rhode Island.

    I wonder if _that_ would have changed Shatner’s mind.

  17. 18 MrNiceGuy
    August 16, 2009 at 4:49 am

    You guys are so full of yourselves. Without knowing ANYTHING about why Shatner changed his mind, you go ahead and talk bullshit all the way. Get over yourself, fan-atics. Shatner doesn’t owe you anything. And what he does with his schedule is his business. Like you guys never had to re-schedule anything.

    What a bunch of nerds.

  18. 19 Little Red
    September 10, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    You guys are so full of yourselves. Without knowing ANYTHING about why Shatner changed his mind, you go ahead and talk bullshit all the way. Get over yourself, fan-atics. Shatner doesn’t owe you anything. And what he does with his schedule is his business. Like you guys never had to re-schedule anything.

    What a bunch of nerds.
    No, but he owed the Rhode Island Film Festival something better than having a lackey sent a short email over the weekend cancelling at the last minute.

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August 2009

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