Country star Morgan Wallen suspended by record label after using racial slur

Wallen apologized and said ‘there are no excuses’ after video released by TMZ showed him using a slur

The American country music star Morgan Wallen is getting blowback for being caught on tape using a racial slur after a night out in Nashville, Tennessee.

A video published by the celebrity tabloid TMZ shows footage taken by Wallen’s neighbor of the country singer saying goodbye to his friends as he enters his driveway.

Wallen can be heard using the N-word while speaking to his friends as they go their separate ways.

According to TMZ, neighbors reported that Wallen, 27, and his friends were being loud when they arrived at his home, honking horns and talking loudly, prompting the neighbor to start recording the scene.

Within hours of TMZ publishing the video, Cumulus Media, one of the largest radio chains in the US, sent a directive to hundreds of radio stations instructing them to pull Wallen’s music off the air “without exception”. Two other major radio station chains, iHeartMedia and Entercom, have followed suit.

Wallen’s record label, Big Loud Records, released a statement late on Tuesday night saying that they had suspended Wallen’s contract “indefinitely”. The record company said that Republic Records, which distributes Wallen’s music, “fully supports Big Loud’s decision and agrees such behavior will not be tolerated”.

CMT, the American cable network dedicated to country music, said on Twitter on Wednesday morning that they were “in the process of removing [Wallen’s] appearances from all our platforms”.

“We do not tolerate or condone words and actions that are in direct opposition to our core values that celebrate diversity, equity & inclusion,” the network said in a statement.

The actions come just weeks after Wallen’s second album, Dangerous, broke records for country music, including receiving the largest number of streams in a single week by a country music artist, after it was released in early January.

Top country music stars have spoken out about Wallen’s behavior, with some saying that his use of a racial slur “does not represent country music”, as music artist Kelsea Ballerini wrote on Twitter, while others said it was unsurprising given the industry’s history of racism.

“When I read comments saying ‘this is not who we are’ I laugh because this is exactly who country music is,” wrote Mickey Guyton, a country music artist who is Black, on Twitter. “I’ve witnessed it for 10 [good] years. You guys should just read some of the vile comments hurled at me on a daily basis. It’s a cold hard truth to face but it is the truth.”

Maren Morris, another country music artist, echoed that sentiment saying: “It actually IS representative of our town because this isn’t his first ‘scuffle’ and he just demolished a huge streaming record last month regardless,” Morris said on Twitter. “We all know it wasn’t his first time using that word. We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse.”

Wallen was previously arrested in Nashville for public intoxication and disorderly conduct in May and was criticized for going to a crowded, mask-less party in Alabama in October. Warren apologized for both incidents last year.

In a statement to TMZ, Wallen said: “I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”

Contributor

Lauren Aratani

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Is country music ready to dissociate from the Confederate flag?
For decades, country stars have embraced the ‘rebel’ flag as a symbol of southern heritage and pride. But after Charleston, that seems destined to change

Grady Smith

23, Jun, 2015 @4:58 PM

Article image
Country star backs out of Sandy Hook benefit after gun-rights backlash
Tim McGraw’s plan to headline charity concert prompts outrage from gun advocates, leading to singer Billy Currington to quit the bill

Grady Smith

17, Apr, 2015 @5:08 PM

Article image
Jeff Sessions: Trump's attorney general pick accused of racial slur in 1981
Sessions offered a false explanation when later questioned by Senators about the alleged incident involving Democratic county commissioner Douglas Wicks

Jon Swaine

21, Nov, 2016 @1:00 PM

Article image
Country group Lady Antebellum change name to Lady A due to slavery connotations
Björk label One Little Indian also changes name to One Little Independent to avoid links with minstrel song

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

11, Jun, 2020 @4:21 PM

Article image
‘I’m not your n-word’: school guard fired for repeating racial slur
Students rally round Marlon Anderson as Madison Metropolitan School District indicates it will review zero-tolerance policy

Victoria Bekiempis in New York

20, Oct, 2019 @12:46 PM

Article image
Elizabeth Warren seeks to use Trump Pocahontas 'racial slur' as political tool
Senator raises issue of sexual assault against Native American women and adds that she is ‘not running for president in 2020’

Martin Pengelly

11, Mar, 2018 @2:08 PM

Article image
Sheryl Crow criticizes country stars for not 'taking a stand' on gun control
Crow, who is releasing a song dedicated to Newtown victims, says country musicians are afraid of speaking about gun laws and losing their audience

Lois Beckett

12, Dec, 2017 @11:00 AM

Article image
Kesha's Billboard awards performance back on after record label approves
Kemosabe Records initially gave permission but rescinded out of concern that the singer would use appearance to discuss sexual assault case against Dr Luke

Jamiles Lartey

19, May, 2016 @10:21 PM

Article image
US teacher suspended for reportedly using N-word in classroom discussion
Video shows Georgia art teacher sitting on a desk and asking students if it was OK for her to use the word if ‘I date a Black guy’

Maya Yang

14, Sep, 2021 @3:40 PM

Article image
New York Times 'disciplined' top Covid reporter accused of using racial slurs
Paper says Donald McNeil Jr ‘showed extremely poor judgement’ in using racist language on a Times-endorsed educational trip

Guardian staff

29, Jan, 2021 @3:57 PM