A lobby group of highly-influential Ukrainians is pressuring Edmonton City Council to ban self-proclaimed actor-musician Steven Seagal from setting foot in the city on the heels of an announcement that the controversial celebrity was tapped to headline the Edmonton Rock Music Festival this August at Hawrelak Park.
The provincial chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is petitioning Council to prevent Seagal from visiting the city on grounds that his association with Russian President Vladimir Putin could spark negative reaction from Ukrainians, who make up roughly 15 per cent of the city’s population.
“The guy’s not only a maniac, he’s also a horrible actor and musician,” said one UCC member about Seagal, who, despite his questionable talent, became a Hollywood action hero with over-the-top flicks like Under Siege and Hard To Kill. “He could also trigger a war between the Ukrainians and Russians, but if worse comes to worse, at least we outnumber them.”
Organizers of the Edmonton Rock Music Festival were outraged over the actions of the UCC, claiming that Seagal exemplifies everything that’s synonymous with classic rock.
“Look, buddy, Seagal’s known for his tough-guy roles and the music we showcase is tough-assed rock and roll,” said one organizer.
“We don’t go for any of that innovative airy-fairy crap, or modern rock poser garbage. And we frown on originality, since the best music was done in the ’70s. We feature nothing but covers that represent an era when classic rock ruled, and it was survival of the fittest when we could crack open the heads of any wimps we wanted. Seagal’s an icon to our way of thinking. And so what if he can’t play? Neither can a lot of us, but if you dare to point that out, be prepared to get your face smashed in!”
The UCC initiative was also inspired by the Wednesday announcement by the Ukrainian government that they were banning Seagal from setting foot in the country on grounds that he was a security risk. After Russia annexed Crimea, Seagal led a pro-Putin parade in Crimea on a motorcycle in 2014.
Council is mulling over the UCC petition, although PC leader Jason Kenney said he would do what it takes to bring Seagal into the city.
“Imagine how much that would be a boost for the right!” commented Kenney. “Maybe if he’s here, he could kick a few socialist asses and run Premier Rachel Notley out of town!”