Controversy

The earliest controversy with Buffett was his recording of “God’s Own Drunk” found on the album Living and Dying in ¾ Time. In 1983 the son of the late entertainer Lord Buckley sued Buffett for $11 million for copyright infringement claiming that Buffett took parts of the monologue from Buckley’s A Tribute to Buckley and claimed it as his own work in “God’s Own Drunk”. The suit also alleged that Buffett’s “blasphemous” rendition presented to the public a distorted impression of Lord Buckley. They got an injunction against Buffett which prevented him from performing the song until the lawsuit was settled or resolved. So, in 1986 when Buffett would get to the part of his show where he would normally perform “God’s Own Drunk,” he would say that he still isn’t allowed to play it because of the lawsuit and instead played a song he wrote called “The Lawyer and the Asshole” in which he accuses Buckley’s son and lawyers as being greedy and tells them to “kiss his ass.”

On October 6, 2006, it was reported that Buffett had been detained by French custom officials in Saint Tropez for allegedly carrying over 100 pills of ecstasy.Buffett’s luggage was searched after his Dassault Falcon 900 private jet landed at Toulon-Hyères International Airport. He paid a fine of $300 and was released. A spokesperson for Buffett stated the pills in question were prescription drugs, but declined to name the drug or the health problem for which he was being treated. Buffett released a statement that the “ecstasy” was in fact, a Vitamin B supplement known as Foltx.

This was not the first time Buffett had been assumed to be carrying drugs. In January 1996 his Grumman HU-16 airplane nicknamed “Hemisphere Dancer” was shot at by Jamaican police who believed the craft to be smuggling marijuana. The aircraft sustained minimal damage. On board the plane with Buffett were U2’s Bono, and Island Records producer Chris Blackwell, and co-pilot Bill Dindy. The Jamaican government acknowledged the mistake and apologized to Buffett who penned the song “Jamaica Mistaica” for his Banana Wind album based on the experience.

On February 4, 2001, he was ejected from the American Airlines Arena in Miami during a Miami Heat/New York Knicks basketball game for cursing. After the game, referee Joe Forte said that he ordered the singer moved during the fourth quarter because “there was a little boy sitting next to him and a lady sitting by him. He used some words he knows he shouldn’t have used.”

However, Forte apparently didn’t know who he’d just removed from the arena. Heat coach Pat Riley tried to explain who Buffett was to Forte and was censured himself because the referee thought Riley was insulting him by asking if he’d ever been a “Parrothead,” the nickname for Buffett fanatics.

Though Buffett didn’t comment immediately after the incident, he did appear on The Today Show three days later and talked with Matt Lauer about the ejection.