Morgan Wallen's Recording Contract Suspended 'Indefinitely,' Is Dropped From Country Radio After Racial Slur
By Paige Gawley
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Morgan Wallen Facing Major Backlash After Using Racial Slur
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Morgan Wallen has been suspended indefinitely from his label. After the 27-year-old country singer was caught on video using the N-word and other inappropriate language, his label, as well as country radio stations and playlists, are taking action.
Big Loud Records announced the news on Twitter Wednesday. The Nashville-based label releases Wallen's music in conjunction with Republic Records.
"In wake of recent events, Big Loud Records has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen's recording contract indefinitely," the label wrote. "Republic Records fully supports Big Loud's decision and agrees such behavior will not be tolerated."
Radio stations are also removing Wallen's music from their playlists too.
"In light of Morgan Wallen’s recent actions involving the use of a racial slur, we have made the decision to remove his music and content from our stations effective immediately," iHeartRadio, which has more than 850 radio stations, tells ET in a statement.
A spokesperson for Entercom, which has more than 235 radio stations, tells ET, "In light of Morgan Wallen’s recent use of a racial slur, we’ve discussed the incident with our Country brand leadership team and together have made the decision to remove Morgan’s music from Entercom’s playlists."
On Tuesday, Varietyreported that Cumulus Media, which has more than 400 radio stations, instructed their program directors to take the same action.
"Team, unfortunately country music star Morgan Wallen was captured on video Sunday evening using a racial slur," read a directive signed by Brian Philips, EVP of programming, and John Dimick, head of programming operations, according to the outlet. "Effective immediately we request that all of Morgan Wallen’s music be removed from our playlists without exception. More to follow."
According to the outlet, Wallen's music was also removed from the homepage of Apple Music Country, as well as from Spotify’s list of 50 top Hot Country songs, despite his recent album's near month-long run at the top of the charts.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for SiriusXM and Pandora tells ET, "We have pulled Morgan Wallen’s content from SiriusXM and Pandora."
Additionally, CMT tweeted on Wednesday that it is "in the process of removing his 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 tweet read.
After learning of Morgan Wallen’s racial slur late last night, we are in the process of removing his 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.
Likewise, the Country Music Association tweeted that it is "removing his digital content from our platforms." During the 2020 CMA Awards in November, Wallen was named the New Artist of the Year.
"We support our Country Music partners for taking swift action," the tweet read. "We will confer further with our Board of Directors to review additional measures and will continue to examine our industry's inclusivity efforts."
Additionally, the Country Music Awards also expressed that they would be removing Wallen's eligibility from their upcoming awards cycle.
"The Academy of Country Music will halt Morgan Wallen’s potential involvement and eligibility for this year’s 56th Academy of Country Music Awards cycle. We have made his management team aware of this decision. The Academy does not condone or support intolerance or behavior that doesn’t align with our commitment and dedication to diversity and inclusion," the statement reads in part.
On Thursday, Wallen was dropped by WME, according to multiple reports.
The Nashville branch of the NAACP also said it was willing to meet with Wallen to inform and educate him on the magnitude of his actions.
"Even when you look at the other words that were spoken, that one has a certain venom to it that the words just don't have," attorney and Nashville NAACP president Sheryl Guinn told WSMV-TV. "Because he was such a prominent celebrity and an artist here in Nashville, I mean he's living here, we would love for him to have that conversation with us."
"We invite him to come and have that conversation with us, the NAACP, as to why that word is so hurtful," Guinn added.
After TMZ published the video, which showed Wallen using the racial slur when he arrived home from a night out with friends, he issued an apology.
"I'm embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back," Wallen told ET in a statement. "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."
Country artists were quick to call Wallen out, with Mickey Guyton, who is Black, writing on Twitter that "the hate runs deep."
"How many passes will you continue to give? Asking for a friend. No one deserves to be canceled [but] this is unacceptable. Promises to do better don't mean sh*t," she wrote in a series of tweets. "This is not his first time using that 'unacceptable' racial slur and we all know that. So what exactly are y'all going to do about it. Crickets won't work this time."
"When I read comments saying 'this is not who we are' I laugh because this exactly who country music is. I've witnessed it for 10 gd years," Guyton continued. "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."
This is not his first time using that “unacceptable” racial slur and we all known that. So what exactly are y’all going to do about it. Crickets won’t work this time.
Kelsea Ballerini wrote that "the news out of Nashville tonight does not represent country music," while Maren Morris tweeted, "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."
"We all know it wasn’t his first time using that word," Morris added. "We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse."
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. We all know it wasn’t his first time using that word. We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse.
Cassadee Pope also came for Wallen, posting an angry emoji to Instagram with the message, "I am completely disgusted by Morgan Wallens’ words. To be that flippant and nonchalant while hurling the most offensive racial slur you could utter.... some people just have ZERO sensitivity to a real f**king problem in this world: racism. It has no place in country music and has been tolerated and enabled way too long. And it has NO place in this world."
Wallen previously came under fire in May when he was arrested in Nashville for public intoxication. At the time, Wallen wrote on Twitter that he and some friends were "horse-playing with each other," adding, "We didn't mean any harm, and we want to say sorry to any bar staff or anyone that was affected."
Wallen made headlines again in October, when he was pulled from Saturday Night Live after violating the show's COVID-19 protocols by partying in a bar. He responded by apologizing, calling his actions "short-sighted" and noting that he had "some growing up to do." He was rebooked on SNL eight weeks later.