William Shatner is defending himself on Twitter as his decision to skip Leonard Nimoy’s funeral Sunday became front-page tabloid fodder.
“I chose to honor a commitment I made months ago to appear at a charitable fundraiser,” Shatner, who turns 84 this month, tweeted Sunday after a New York tabloid labeled him “Captain Jerk” on its front page. “A lot of money was raised” for the American Red Cross of South Florida at Saturday’s 58th International Red Cross Ball. “So here I am; tell me off.”
WOR-AM morning-show host Todd Schnitt criticized Shatner, who had tweeted Saturday, “I can’t make it back in time. I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried.” Wrote Schnitt, “Do Red Cross event and then private jet to LA.” Responded Shatner, “I must have missed your email about underwriting the arrangement and payment for this,” pointing out, “A jet from FL to LA is about $30K.”
After a writer for The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, tweeted, “You’d think the Red Cross folks would understand that emergencies change plans, no?” Shatner replied, “Walking out on a major fundraiser wouldn’t have you calling me a jerk for leaving a charity high & dry? Hmm?”
The star then spent much time on his Twitter page answering numerous fans’ questions as he memorialized Nimoy, who died Friday at 83. Calling him “intelligent, insightful, just a precious gem of a man,” he said his one regret of their friendship was “that it couldn’t have lasted a lot longer.”
He gamely answered personal questions, such as whether Nimoy disliked nicknames, answering, “I called him Lenny in private he never said anything.” And when one commentator wrote, “I imagine this conversation must be very emotional for you,” Shatner replied, “It’s healing.”