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That Time I Met Ozzy Wearing a Bathrobe in his Hotel Room…

It never ceases to amaze me what people will say.

rita1I read a recap article about how Rita Ora wore a bathrobe to host some awards.

Silly commenter says:

Rita Ora has on a bathrobe in a public event where many were present and that makes her okay, and Harvey Weinstein had on a bathrobe in his hotel room where a woman was present and that makes him a creep. Females are inconsistent and dishonest and I have seen females at work sexually flirt and joke with good looking higher paid guys and laugh at return sexual banter, but complain and harshly label an unattractive guy as a creep for doing the exact same thing.

I…I cringe at the stupidity presented here.  I know, I can’t expect much from Yahoo comments, but seriously.  Almost as frightening was the amount of people supporting this guy’s comment.

So let me tell you a little story…

A long time ago in a high school I once attended, they had a radio station that broadcasted in a small radius – maybe a handful of towns received our signal.  I got my DJ license, and it being around 1990, I hosted a metal show on Tuesday evenings.

This allowed me the opportunity to meet some really cool musicians, doing interviews by phone or in person and whatnot.  I am particularly honored to have met Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers fame, and Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave fame.

ozandrandBut nothing will top my crowning achievement of interviewing the legendary Ozzy Osbourne.

We were coming up on the 10th anniversary of Randy Rhoads’ death.  Randy was his guitarist after Ozzy left Black Sabbath and tragically died in a plane crash.  I wanted to see if I could wrangle an interview with him to honor the anniversary of Randy’s passing.

I don’t think Mike Schnapp, his US manager at the time, ever knew that I was only 16 when I started calling him, nor did I divulge it in case he thought I was just a fan trying to get access – I wanted to be professional.  And after months of some back and forth, Mike set up the interview at the Helmsley Palace Hotel.

At the lobby of the hotel I am greeted by one of his team, who escorts me up the room.  The guy is friendly, asks if I’ve ever met him before and assures me he’s a great guy.

At the door…knock…door opens.

And there stands my musical idol, OZZY FRICKIN’ OSBOURNE, in his bathrobe.

I was more bemused that he was shorter than me, though I must admit him being in a bathrobe was a bit disarming.  I’m used to the black outfits, jewelry and crazy hair.  This guy looks like he just stepped out of the spa.

But here is the ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE between my experience being in a celebrity’s hotel room while they wore a bathrobe and the experiences of many other women lodging complaints about other celebrities in the news today…

Ozzy. Wasn’t. Inappropriate.  AT ALL.

He never flirted.  He never came on to me, he never made a suggestive remark, he never asked me to do anything for or to him.  He didn’t touch me (I think we perhaps shook hands at initially meeting), or try to hug me or massage me or anything like that.  I asked a handful of questions and he talked for 30 minutes.

Ozzy Osbourne was a perfect gentleman and a consummate professional.

The other celebrities in the news now?  Not so much.  I never felt uncomfortable, or threatened, or got any bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Trust me, I know the feeling, like the vast majority of women do at one time or another.

What is my point in all this?

The commentor above clearly has no frame of reference, and little capacity to accept the words of women.  Do women falsely accuse?  Yes.  But few are truly willing to be publicly scrutinized, picked apart, called horrible names and smeared like they are in this day and age just for a few minutes of pseudofame.

Weinstein wasn’t just sitting there in his bathrobe.  He was trying to coerce them into sexual favors based on his position of power in the industry.  He could make or break their careers, in an industry that can be extremely hard to make a living at.

The workplace scenario – men cannot sexually flirt with those in lower levels to them without the possibility of it being a power play ala Weinstein “give me a backrub, you know we have an opening at the head of the Whatever Department…”  Women are held to the same standard – they cannot coerce those in lower levels to do inappropriate and unwanted things with no fear of reprisal.

Does it happen?  Yes, all the time.  Which is why so many people are talking about it (both women and men who have been victimized).  It’s more common than Generic Man may have ever realized.  Perhaps they simply can’t wrap their heads around the enormity of the issue.  Perhaps they don’t want to believe that their mother was forced to smile while enduring slaps on the rear as a secretary at the law firm, or that their sister was consistently pinched or grabbed while waitressing by the truck driver who always stopped in for coffee during her shift.

Maybe they don’t want to think that their daughter could have been coerced into sexual favors by her boss for fear of losing her job when other jobs have become very slim where she lives now.  It’s pretty horrendous to think about and easy to say “no way that happens!” – but you might be surprised.

So we are left to be angry, and rather than tamping it down, trying to to forget about it, or attempting straight-up denial, more and more and finding their voice and expressing their anger.

The question is whether more will listen to them or more will try and squash it down.

(Featured image Frank May/DPA via ZUMA)

What I learned from Ozzy Osbourne

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was a metalhead teenager with a DJ license complements of my high school radio station. Every week I’d spin a few records and occasionally say something on the air, but really it was just an excuse to feel important and listen to my favorite songs in the comfort of an awesomely-sounding studio.

A side perk was that record companies often sent samples of their latest bands to get some airplay, not realizing that we had about a 5 mile listening radius (well, once this guy from Sayreville called in), and the potential for getting interviews was there. For some reason, the idea for getting an interview with Ozzy Osbourne popped into my head. At the time, we were getting closer to the 10th anniversary of Randy Rhoads‘ untimely and tragic death, and I thought it would make a good piece.

So I started making a few calls, and ended up talking to his US Manager, Mike Schnapp. I tried with all my effort to sound older and more professional than my 16 years, told him of the interview idea and inquired about the possibility. He politely told me Ozzy was not in the US but also told me to call back in a couple of months and he’d see what he could do.

So every couple of months I’d give a call, introduce myself again, remind him I’d called before and what he told me, and each time he told me about the same news: Ozzy’s not in the US, Ozzy’s on the west coast, Ozzy’s back in europe… call back in a couple of months.

I started feeling like I was getting blown off, when he finally said that Ozzy was planning on being in New York in January and to call back the next month about setting up an interview, and I thought my heart would explode. So I patiently waited until I could call back, and finally the day came when Mike gave me the news that I had an interview with the one and only Ozzy Osbourne!

The interview itself was a fascinating experience and pretty much like one would expect. His guy came down to the lobby to escort me and my friend (my photographer!) up, asked if I’d met him before and told me what a great guy he was. Brings me to the room and when the door opens, there’s The Man, 4 inches shorter than me, wearing a hotel bathrobe. His wife Sharon makes a brief appearance long enough to screech “NO PICTURES!” before retreating to another room. We sit down, I position my tape recorder, ask one question, and he’s off. I am not sure I even got any other questions in, the man is a pro interviewee and just runs with it. He was mesmerizing and engaging, but also detached from having said the same things 1000 times to 1000 different reporters. He slurred and stammered a bit, just like he does now, only back then it was probably because he was still ON whatever substance he was later permanently affected by. After about a half hour, the interview was over, I thanked him profusely for his time (while maintaining professionalism, of course, I didn’t want my inner fangirl to show at any cost), and headed home flying high.

I probably called Mike Schnapp 2 or 3 times in the months afterward just to tell him again how thankful I was for the opportunity (PS: Mike, THANKS AGAIN!). He told me he always remembered me, because I listened to him when he said to call back in a couple of months, as opposed to the people who would incessantly call on a weekly basis. I was pleased my gentle persistence and patience was noticed and paid off, and I don’t think anyone had a clue I was only 16 years old. I knew then that I had the potential to do whatever I set my mind to.

I never got a chance to get my interview on the air, but I still have the cassette tucked away. My 9 year old RAV4 actually still has a cassette player. I wonder if the tape is any good…?

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