WINNIPEG - It seems hell hath no fury like a city that feels it's been called a hellhole by a Hollywood actor.
Rob Lowe, in Winnipeg to shoot a made-for-TV movie, has stirred up anger after writing a message on Twitter Tuesday night that ended with the hashtag "#Trappedinahellhole".
Lowe was complaining about how he was watching the NBA playoffs on TV in a bar when the station interrupted the game for coverage of municipal elections. However, there were no municipal elections in Manitoba Tuesday — Lowe was likely watching a TV station based across the border in Grand Forks, N.D.
Winnipeg residents quickly fired back on Twitter, calling Lowe a jerk, a schmuck and other names.
"You can leave any time," wrote Ken Johnston.
"Feel free to leave the hell hole. I'm sure another great thespian could take your roll (sic)," wrote Scott Cawson.
The apparent jab came as a disappointment to Liz Peters, a Lowe fan who managed to get a picture with the star outside his hotel last week. Lowe seemed quite happy and had no complaints, she said.
"He was signing autographs and he took pictures with myself and he asked personal questions about myself and ... seemed to show interest. Not every celebrity is going to do that," Peters said Wednesday.
By Wednesday morning, Lowe was tweeting more positive messages about the city, and it was unclear whether the hellhole tag was a reference to Winnipeg as a city or simply the bar in which he watched the basketball game.
"Will find a better sports bar. Was the worst!!!", he wrote in response to someone who said he could have watched the game uninterrupted on TSN instead of a North Dakota station.
"Gonna head to #GoldEyes game, see my sports live. And nothing better than that cozy stadium," he later wrote, referring to Winnipeg's unaffiliated minor-league baseball team.
A municipal official said Wednesday that Lowe's tweet was definitely about the bar he was in, not the city.
"I have spent the day with Mr. Lowe. In our conversations back and forth, he was really clear that he was talking about the bar that he was sitting in," said Kenny Boyce, head of Winnipeg's Film and Special Events department.
As for the idea of being trapped in a bar?
"It's very funny, but there was a whole bunch of people there, I think, at the time. And he was just trying to leave at that point," Boyce said.
"He wanted to go and he had to wait a little bit before he could go."
Boyce said Lowe would not identify the bar.
Lowe really likes Winnipeg, Boyce added. And as executive director of the production, Lowe chose the city over other locations. He filmed another movie in Winnipeg in 2003.
Lowe, a star on the sitcom "Parks and Recreation" and former star of "The West Wing," is scheduled to be in Winnipeg for another two weeks. He is shooting the made-for-TV movie about the trial of Casey Anthony, a Florida mother acquitted last year in the death of her young daughter.