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Steamroller crushes Sinead O'Connor recordings

By
WILLIAM M. REILLY

NEW YORK -- A steamroller Wednesday crunched dozens of Sinead O'Connor CD's and tapes piled in front of her recording company's Rockefeller Center offices in protest of the Irish singer's ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II.

The 30-ton red and yellow Dynapac rolled over cassettes, compact discs and even a few records.

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At the end of her appearance on the Oct. 3 'Saturday Night Live,' O'Connor tore up the pope's photograph and walked off the stage.

The action outraged many Catholics and when she appeared at Madison Square Garden Friday at a 39th anniversary celebration in honor of Bob Dylan she was booed by the audience until she left the stage in tears.

Wednesday's smashed recordings were collected by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, which promised to donate $10 to charity for every O'Connor tape or CD sent in. The organization said it received 'more than 200.'

A feeble cheer went up from a few of the approximately 100 people who had gathered, in addition to members of the media, to watch the protest, across the street from the offices of Chrysalis Records, 1290 Sixth Ave.

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The protesters planned to deliver mashed recordings to O'Connor.

Standing atop the roller were limousine magnate William Fugazy, NECO chairman of the board, and Arnold Burns, NECO president.

The two men wore white hard hats adorned with a caricature of the bald singer, with the red international 'prohibited' stroke across it.

'Under our system of government Sinead O'Connor has every right to do what she did, but we also have the right to express ourselves,' Burns said.

'O'Connor should be held to the same standards as everyone else,' he said. 'This celebrity has got to act decently.'

Said Fugazy, who founded the coalition that awards 'Golden Pit' awards every year for the worst cases of ethnic slurs, cheap shots and sterotyping, 'I think she should apologize to all the ethnic communities around the world...especially all the Catholics.'

A spokeswoman for O'Connor, Elaine Shock, when told of the protest, asked. 'How are they going to get it to her? I don't even know where she is. It's not like Santa Claus where you can address him in care of the North Pole. It can't be 'Sinead O'Connor, Europe.''

She called the demonstration 'silly,' because O'Connor knows nothing about it, and said it was 'like burning books. It doesn't hurt the author.'

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Shock said O'Connor had no regrets over her actions. 'She has a lot of ill-will toward the teachings of the Catholic Church.'

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