Bret Michaels’ camp issued a statement about the nose fracture and busted lip the rocker got while performing in the Tony Awards opening number on Sunday — slamming the producers of the theater awards show, saying if it had been “Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton or Elton John the Tonys would have at least issued a letter of concern.”
“With all due respect to everyone working the Tony awards somewhere down the line there was a lack of communication and the prop should have been immediately halted until Michaels was clear. Sunday morning at rehearsals, Bret was never informed that the descending set piece existed, let alone would be moving into position as he was exiting the stage,” Janna Elias, a rep for Michaels, said in statement posted on the singer’s Web site on Wednesday.
“Although Bret was visibly dazed he remained extremely calm backstage as members of our road crew brought him a towel to wipe the blood from his face. His only comment at the time was ‘What the hell just hit me?’ The severity of this injury is not being taken lightly as symptoms from head and neck injuries at first may seem like nothing and sometimes do not present for days. At this time the full extent of his injuries remains to be seen until all x-rays are back.
“I find it surprising that a Tony spokesperson would brush off this incident with a comment stating ‘Mr. Michaels missed his mark’ with no mention of concern for his condition,” Elias’ statement continues. “If everyone at the Tonys were aware that Bret missed his mark then they should have been aware enough to stop the set piece from hitting him or at least slowed it down until he cleared the stage. I feel had this incident happened to Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton or Elton John the Tonys would have at least issued a letter of concern.”
Michaels’ rep goes on to say the rocker has performed for over 20 years and is used to performing with “pyro, lasers and a moving light show,” but “in this situation Bret was not on his stage but was at the mercy of the Tonys. He was performing on the Tonys stage and had the reasonable expectation that that safety of the artist was a priority and at no time did he do anything over the top or outlandish that would have put himself or others in a dangerous situation.”
The statement questions why no one was able to stop the incident from occurring in the first place.
“You mean to tell us that with all the technology, producers, directors, stage managers and crew that no one at the Tonys saw Mr. Michaels clearly backing up and turning to exit the stage or was capable of halting the prop or slowing it so it didn’t strike Bret? There was no official mark, Bret did what he was instructed to do which was to finish the song and return to the retractable stage platform, which was exactly what he was doing when the prop struck his head.”
Another rep for Michaels, Bob Wallerstein, criticized host Neil Patrick Harris for joking about the incident during the ceremony, when he said that the singer “gave head banging a whole new meaning.”
“We realize the show is live and must go on, however it is unfortunate that the show’s host made light of the situation without having any knowledge of the severity of Bret’s injuries,” Wallerstein said in the statement. “Comments that Mr. Harris was doing shots backstage with Mr. Michaels and that Bret was completely fine were untrue considering Bret never saw Mr. Harris prior to, during or after the Tonys but in fact was being attended to by medical personnel backstage.”
Michaels canceled a show in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Wednesday due to the accident and further tests are being conducted on his head and spine.