The Student Paper, the Rock Star & a Recipe for ‘FRESH HOME-MADE GUACAMOLE’

Musician Jack White went on a mini-rant against The Oklahoma Daily during a concert Monday night at Oklahoma University. He claimed the student newspaper violated his privacy and also said on stage that he spoke with Daily editors about the Freedom of Information Act — a chat that did not actually take place.

Yowza. So what compelled the A-list performer to publicly criticize the top-notch campus paper and blurt out what one observer (awesomely) called “a White lie”?

As Judy Gibbs Robinson, the pub’s editorial adviser and OU’s assistant director of student media, tells me, “He was unhappy that the Daily had reported on his contract, including demands that no bananas be present anywhere, no photos be allowed and guacamole be made for him according to his own recipe.”

To be clear, his concert contract isn’t secret. The Daily obtained it easily via a standard FOIA request. Staffers simply wanted to see how much OU was shelling out for “the last true rock star” — especially since some student fees money was involved. They were also curious what White requested or required in the rider of his contract — the spot where performers often lay out their, ahem, quirkiest demands.

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What did the Daily discover?

As digital managing editor Paighten Harkins confirms, White and his crew are apparently so averse to bananas they state outright “We don’t want to see bananas anywhere in the building” in which they were performing. By comparison, White did want the following in his dressing room: “Six bottles of spring water, four bottles of fresh juice smoothies, one pound of ‘freshly sliced, high-quality prosciutto and aged salami with a sharp knife.'” Yum or umm?

In addition, an immensely detailed full recipe is included for what the contract calls in all caps “FRESH HOME-MADE GUACAMOLE.”

Oh, and there is also a potentially unconstitutional reporting restriction. We’ll get to that in a minute.

So during his show Monday — a few days after the Daily carried out its journalistic due diligence and shared the contract details — White expressed his anger through some choice words and even a mock guac protest.

As the latter tweet hints, White then also said something only partially discernible about meeting with three Daily editors to discuss the FOIA. The Daily’s response: That’s news to us.

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In a well-written rundown of this surreal saga, assistant life and arts editor Emily Sharp stressed, “White did not ever talk with us. We never met in person, over the phone or through email with him. Yes, this was a White lie, as @NathanPoppe put it.”

But wait, it gets wackier. Along with publicly fuming, spewing falsehoods and eating some really fresh prosciutto, White may have even infringed on a constitutional right. Food fun aside, his contract’s most serious red flag — dutifully reported on by the Daily gang — was a declaration that “[a]bsolutely no unsanctioned mobile phones and still photos, videos and audio recordings of Jack White, his band, his crew, his family and friends and his tour equipment whist in the venue or directly outside the venue.”

And security was very serious about enforcing this overreaching ban.

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According to Sharp:

“We then went to take photos outside the venue of equipment being loaded into McCasland Field House, students lining up and people going into the venue. Our photographers were repeatedly told to leave even though they were on public property. One photographer who was taking pictures outside the building was approached by security and told to delete the images off the camera’s memory card or give up their camera. … In White’s contract it says that no photographs may be taken in or around the venue, but constitutionally this is not something that can be enforced. If you are in a public place, you can take photos.”

Bottom line, given what White said on stage, the headline for the Daily’s review of his show rings especially ironic:

Jack White wows with instrumentals, disappoints with vocals

Comments
3 Responses to “The Student Paper, the Rock Star & a Recipe for ‘FRESH HOME-MADE GUACAMOLE’”
  1. Adam says:

    I’m a Daily alum and still work in the media in the area, and I attended the show. I’m firmly on the Daily’s side here, and think Jack White was great, but whiny. However… a lot of folks are saying White claimed he had a talk with the Daily. I thought it was pretty clear that he was being hyperbolic. I think he said something along the lines of, “I’ve got three reporters and a photographer in my dressing room.” Exaggeration.

  2. Elizabeth King says:

    He’s a terrible person. I am literally in shock by what all I read happened at OU Monday night but I don’t know why I am because when you take it all in context of all the other stories about him and his rancid disposition, what happened Monday is just another in a long list of examples of him acting in a way that is just deplorable. If I am honest, I would say it is a disgraceful waste of what could have been a stellar talent. He will never be more than marginal because his vile character gets in the way of his creativity and his ability to connect with people. Now that he has once again brought shame on himself, he will go around acting on his best behavior just like he did this past summer and Fall, trying to convince everyone that he isn’t truly terrible even though he is.

    • Elizabeth King says:

      Something made me go back and read this story tonight. I want to take back saying “He is a terrible person.” Jack White has made some terrible choices but I don’t believe he is a terrible person. I was extremely pissed off after I read the OU story. It nauseated me to think of him acting that way and I reacted according to those feelings. But part of my disappointment stemmed from how strongly I believed in him as an artist and how angry I was to think of him demeaning others and, in the process, himself. I started to see him as someone who only feels good when he’s making someone else feel small. I saw that as incredibly weak behavior really, which is typically the root of most bullying: weakness. But now some time has passed and I don’t like that I wrote “he’s a terrible person” as if he were irredeemable. He’s not. When I look back on my life I think of the times that I have grown as a person and usually those times have come after I acted in a way that I regretted. So why wouldn’t Jack be capable of doing the same? I certainly hope he will because he’s far above the sort of BS behavior he exhibited at OU, and it would be great (for himself and his art) if he finally started to understand that.

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