city-issued broom in his hand, Boy George started his
court-ordered community service early Monday, sweeping
leaves and trash off the sidewalks of New York.
It took less than
an hour for the former Culture Club front man to get
into a spat with the media.
"You think you're
better than me?" he yelled. "Go home. Let me do my
Boy George took
to the streets of Manhattan as a Department of Sanitation
worker wearing an orange vest, dark capri pants, shoes
without socks, and without the wild makeup and
androgynous style that made him so recognizable as the
'80s icon who sang "Karma Chameleon" and "Do You
Really Want to Hurt Me?"
"This is supposed
to be making me humble. Let me do this," he said. "I
just want to do my job."
The singer, born
George O'Dowd, was ordered to spend five days working
for the Department of Sanitation after pleading guilty in
March to falsely reporting a burglary at his lower
Manhattan apartment. The officers who responded found
At 7 a.m. Monday,
a sport utility vehicle pulled up at a Lower East Side
sanitation depot. The agency planned to issue the singer a
shovel, broom, plastic bags, and gloves for the job of
picking up trash on the city's streets.
In June Manhattan
criminal court judge Anthony Ferrara issued a warrant
for O'Dowd's arrest after he initially failed to complete
the requirements of his plea deal. When O'Dowd
appeared in court 10 days later, Ferrara called off
the warrant but warned the singer he could not escape
his community service commitment.
"It's up to you
whether you make it an exercise in humiliation or in
humility," Ferrara told O'Dowd.
initially envisioned a service project more in line with his
status as an '80s icon.
He petitioned to
spend the time helping teenagers make a public service
announcement. Among his other proposals to the court:
holding a fashion and makeup workshop, serving as a DJ
at an HIV/AIDS benefit, or doing telephone outreach.
manager, Jeremy Pearce, told reporters shortly after the
singer arrived for his first day on the job: "He doesn't
show any kind of emotion about these things. He takes
it in his stride. He doesn't need to be humiliated.
He's a humble person."
in the street were a little chaotic," said sanitation
department spokesman Keith Mellis. "We'll see if there's
some cleaning that can be done inside."
later resumed in a gated sanitation parking lot.
"This is for
everyone's safety," deputy sanitation chief Albert
Durrell said as photographers crowded outside the gate. He
said the day's work also might include mopping inside
the depot. (AP)