Friday, September 24, 2004
Taipei, Taiwan Sir Elton John warmed up his vocal chords for a concert Thursday in Taiwan by telling photographers they were a bunch of "rude, vile pigs."
The media ambushed the rock star after he arrived by private plane shortly after midnight Thursday at Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek International Airport. John was angry that police allegedly did not properly restrain the pack and protect him "from the ensuing chaos," a statement issued by the singer said.
ETTV cable news showed footage of John, dressed in a royal blue track suit and matching sunglasses, berating the photographers and TV crews as he cleared immigration. The fuming star also was shown clenching his teeth and muttering expletive as he stood with his arms crossed tightly across his chest.
"Rude, vile pigs," shouted John, who performed later in the capital, Taipei. "Do you know what that means? Rude, vile pigs. That's what all of you are."
One of the photographers shouted back, "Why don't you get out of Taiwan?"
John answered, "We'd love to get out of Taiwan if it's full of people like you. Pig! Pig!"
The star, who recently performed in Hong Kong, said, "We had a great tour of the Far East and then we come to Taiwan and (expletive)."
John's statement said, "Despite this frightening arrival, his spirits remain high, and he is looking forward to performing the concert."
At his concert, the British star told fans that the airport photographers were the rudest people he'd met during his travels. He said he meant every word he said to them.
He wasn't the first foreign star to experience an immediate case of culture shock after encountering aggressive Taiwanese photographers at Taipei's airport.
When British singer Robbie Williams arrived for a concert in 2001, he ran through the terminal as photographers pursued him.
Some reporters objected to Williams' use of an expletive.
"I didn't insult your country. I will insult you," Williams said before rattling off a series of expletives.