Rod Stewart has landed – probably inadvertently – in the middle of Canada’s controversial seal hunt.
The singer was in St. John’s last week for a concert when he stopped into Always In Vogue, a luxury sealskin and fur store in Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital. The seal hunt industry is beloved or maligned, depending on your perspective. But the shop was thrilled when Stewart, and his entourage stopped by on a particularly chilly summer day.
The shop then posted a few photos of its famous visitor.
“We would like to thank Mr. Rod Stewart for shopping at always in vogue. What a gentleman!” the store posted on Facebook.
The local outpouring was immediate.
Selena Mary Murphy wrote, “Awesome Rod, support the local economy!”
Elizabeth Perry Boland added, “He’s a class act! He got guts, integrity, & class, an awesome combination! You Go Rod! We love you for supporting our local industry!”
Robert Young took it as a chance to slam activist singer Paul McCartney, who has travelled to the region to slam the seal harvest. “A better man than that jerk called Sir Paul.”
Then, the shop posted some more photos (taken by Charlene Power) from the concert.
“Thank you Mr. Rod Stewart for giving us a shout out during your concert. You are awesome!” went another Facebook post.
Animal rights activist Paul Watson jumped onto the story, criticizing Stewart for his garment choice. He posted a missive on Facebook throwing the names of high-profile folks who happen to be anti-sealing.
“Rod is most certainly aware that Paul McCartney has personally championed the seals and condemned the slaughter. With this callous action, Rod Stewart is simply insulting McCartney and telling him to shove his compassion, and telling him where to go,” Watson wrote.
Now, Stewart, who has donned a few fur coats in his lifetime, has had a change of heart.
I am enraged to learn that an image of me has been misused for something I do not support. Full details here: https://t.co/PKTpAwYX5g
— Rod Stewart (@rodstewart) July 14, 2015
And then posted this note to his fan page on Facebook:
On Saturday Rod Stewart landed in St. Johns Canada to headline an outdoor summer festival. As the weather was much colder than previously thought a wardrobe assistant recommended a shop near the venue that was kind enough to loan the backing singers some red jumpers to keep them warm on stage. On their way out, the store clerk wanted to take a photo with Rod and asked if he would pose in one the store’s jackets and Rod obliged. He was not being fitted for it as has been alleged and had no intention of buying it.
Rod regrets that he didn’t check what the jacket was made of but was so grateful for the shop’s help, he did not. Rod has since been very upset to learn that the shop has been using this image as an advertisement for an industry that he does not know much about and certainly does not support.
Rod went there to play music and as always had an absolute blast performing to the people of Canada.
People took to social media once again to wade into the controversy, both supporting and blasting Stewart.
Rick Locke wrote: “Absolute nonsense. Rod Stewart came to Newfoundland, took the image, and is now regretting the negative PR of a seal skin coat. I’d tell Rod to man up and admit it but considering the ‘music’ he makes, and the appearance of him, he seems too much of a pussy to ‘man up’.”
Meanwhile, Always in Vogue owner Darren Halloran told CBC that the singer knew the coat was sealskin and told him all about how they were made as they toured the store.
“He knew what he was putting on. Whether he knew the extent of what comes with putting on a sealskin jacket I don’t know. I never meant for that to be the situation. But he knew what he was putting on,” Halloran told CBC.
Photos Always In Vogue/Facebook