PEI

Kensington police officer apologizes to Nickelback for Facebook post

A Kensington, P.E.I., police officer has apologized for "bullying" Nickelback and removed a Facebook post he says drew a reaction far beyond his expectations.

'At no time did I think it would go as far as it did,' officer says after post goes viral

Police Const. Robb Hartlen says he is sorry Nickelback became the brunt of jokes following his Facebook post. (Submitted by Robb Hartlen)

A Kensington, P.E.I., police officer has apologized for "bullying" Nickelback and removed a Facebook post he says drew a reaction far beyond his expectations.

Last week, Const. Robb Hartlen posted on the police Facebook site that he would force arrested drivers to listen to Nickelback's 2001 album Silver Side Up as a punishment for drinking and driving. It was just his way of using humour to spread an important message, he said.

CBC P.E.I. published a story about the tongue-in-cheek post, as did other media around the world, including Time magazine and CNN.

"At no time did I think it would go as far as it did," Hartlen said.

Hartlen's threat to use Nickelback's music to punish drunk drivers was covered by media around the world. (Nickelback)

On Friday, Hartlen removed the post and in a new Facebook post wrote a public apology to Nickelback.

Hartlen said the message of "Don't drink and drive" began to take a backseat to the "bashing of the band."

"I didn't want to turn this into an anti-Nickelback," he told CBC Friday night. "The more I thought about it and the more I saw the comments and the more I saw people sort of jumping on the 'We love and we love to hate Nickelback' bandwagon, I was like, 'I think we're losing the message here' and I'm sort of feeling a little bad about what was going on."

Sending wrong message

In his new Facebook post, Hartlen said that as a police officer, he was sorry for sending the wrong message to children.

"How could I, later this week, walk into an elementary school classroom in uniform and try to teach the kids that bullying is wrong when I was guilty of the exact thing," he wrote.

Hartlen said Kensington police are working on a new campaign to discourage drinking and driving.

"We're going to work together with a couple people as opposed to making fun of one group," he said.

About the Author

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.

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