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Published: Wednesday, 7/26/2006

Simpson bus pulls away to sounds of fan displeasure

BY RYAN E. SMITH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Fans were upset with Simpson for suddenly calling off her concert scheduled for last night in the Toledo Zoo amphitheater and not rescheduling. The 22-year-old was ill, according to the promoter of the event.
Fans were upset with Simpson for suddenly calling off her concert scheduled for last night in the Toledo Zoo amphitheater and not rescheduling. The 22-year-old was ill, according to the promoter of the event.
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Scores of people showed up yesterday to boo pop-rocker Ashlee Simpson as she left a South Toledo hotel aboard a tour bus with police escort after canceling a concert in town.

And they weren t lip-synching.

About 100 unhappy fans congregated in the morning at the Hilton-Toledo, where Toledo and University of Toledo police were called. No arrests or major incidents were reported.

Some fans were escorted off the property, which is next to the UT Health Science Campus (formerly the Medical University of Ohio), and protesters were told to move across the street.

They were upset with Simpson for suddenly calling off her concert scheduled for last night in the Toledo Zoo amphitheater and not rescheduling. The 22-year-old was ill, according to the promoter of the event.

That didn t mollify many ticket holders, who were eagerly awaiting the performance and who angrily circulated alternative theories about why Simpson was passing on Toledo.

Her Web site lit up with hurt fans.

You are a sellout, one wrote. I supported you before but NEVER again! If you were really sick as the rumors say, you SHOULD reschedule.

Another chimed in: I can not believe that she is so scared to come out of her hotel to talk to her upset fans! Could she be any more ungrateful to the people who have helped her career!?

This was the latest black eye for the performer, who was famously embarrassed in 2004 by a lip-syncing fiasco on Saturday Night Live.

Morning disc jockeys on WVKS-FM (92.5) offered free Ashlee Simpson T-shirts the same ones that the station had planned to give out at the canceled concert to those who showed up at the Hilton and encouraged people to mark them with an X.

The show s host, Andrew Zepeda, suggested that the singer give an impromptu concert in front of the hotel to mollify fans.

The show received several calls from Toledoans who had allegedly seen the singer out and about the area, and questioned the statement that she was sick.

Another radio station, WTWR-FM (98.3), announced yesterday morning that it would stop playing Simpson s music.

Until she honors her commitment to Toledo, we have decided to pull all her records from the airways, said Jeremy Baumhower, executive producer of the station s morning show hosted by Johny D.

She s basically snubbing Toledo, said Mr. Baumhower. She snubs Toledo, we re gonna snub her.

About five UT and Toledo police crews showed up at the hotel, but there were no arrests or hotel business interruptions, said Matt Lockwood, university spokesman.

Just before noon, the singer, wearing a hat and sunglasses, slipped out a side door of the hotel and onto her tour bus, which left the property with no problems, Mr. Lockwood said.

A Simpson concert scheduled for Friday in Milwaukee also has been canceled, but an appearance Saturday at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich. is still on, according to the singer s Web site.

Blade staff writers Christina Hall and Erica Blake contributed to this report.

Contact Ryan E. Smith at: ryansmith@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.



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