Ozzy Osbourne issued a press release late Thursday that blasted police in Fargo, North Dakota, for staging a sting operation in his name before his concert Monday night at the Fargodome.
Sheriff Paul D. Laney organized the sting as a pre-concert party for Ozzy's fans; he used a fake company, named PDL Productions, to lure unsuspecting fans to the invite-only soiree, according to The Associated Press. The invites, which went out by mail to more than 40 people who'd allegedly ignored court summons and child-support payments or failed to pay fines, offered fans the same perks included in Osbourne's official VIP tour packages, including two tickets to the Monday night event.
When the invitees arrived at the "party," they were promptly handcuffed and arrested on various outstanding warrants; afterward, Laney held a televised press conference to trumpet the operation's success.
Osbourne, who denied prior knowledge of the sting, said he took personal offense to Laney's scheme.
"Instead of holding a press conference to pat himself on the back, Sheriff Laney should be apologizing to me for using my name in connection with these arrests," Osbourne said in his statement. "It's insulting to me and to my audience and it shows how lazy this particular sheriff is when it comes to doing his job.
"Sheriff Laney went out of his way to tarnish my reputation by implying that I somehow attract a criminal element, which is certainly not true," Ozzy continued. "My audiences are good, hard-working people who have been hugely supportive of my music for nearly four decades. They have also been very supportive of my wife Sharon's colon cancer charity by raising over a million dollars (partly through VIP ticket sales) at my shows. It's obvious to me that this sheriff has an agenda and is just trying to make a name for himself on my back."
Early Friday (November 2), a representative at the Cass County Sheriff's Office said that Sheriff Laney is out of the office and would respond to MTV News' request for comment if he feels it is appropriate.
While Osbourne's comments seem harsh, he added that he harbors no ill will toward the people of Fargo and plans to return to the city in the future, "under more favorable circumstances."