Social media users, some of whom identify as country music fans, are calling for a boycott of Country Music Television after it pulled Jason Aldean’s controversial music video for «Try That in a Small Town.»
CMT had initially broadcast the video but withdrew it Monday after it drew attention for its lyrics and for featuring a Tennessee court where a black teenager was lynched in 1927. CMT did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
The network’s decision not to broadcast the video caused a stir on Twitter.
«@CMT not for country fans anymore. Won’t be seeing him anymore unless he apologizes,» one person tweeted.
«@CMT you guys have lost your mind. Until you play @Jason_Aldean try that in a small town. Gonna change the channel,» another Twitter user wrote. «The foundation of country music was made from small town values and helping your neighbors. You are a disgrace.»
Politicians and other prominent personalities also intervened.
«How is this video controversial? Why would @cmt remove it? Support @Jason_Aldean and other artists who have the guts to speak the truth… watch it, download it and fight the bs,» said Donald Trump Jr. tweetedsharing a clip from the music video.
Ronny Jackson, Republican of Texas, wrote on Twitter: «CMT has gotten AWESOME! Do you know who your viewers are? I guess not! I’ll tell you this: I will NEVER watch CMT again. BOYCOTT CMT!»
Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, told Aldean in a cheep that if he wanted to «play somewhere that doesn’t cancel it for its patriotic values, it would be an honor to host it at the Governor’s Residence.»
in village videothe country singer and his band perform in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, the same place where 18-year-old Henry Choate was lynched in 1927 after being accused of assaulting a 16-year-old white girl.
Choate was jailed, but a mob of hundreds of whites kidnapped him from his cell, tied him to the back of a car, dragged him through town, and lynched him in front of the courthouse.
The video also includes scenes of the burning of the American flag and clips apparently from Black Lives Matter protests. Aldean sings lyrics like «Curse a cop, spit in his face/ Stomp on the flag and light it up/ Yeah, you think you’re tough. Well, try it in a small town to see how far you go down the road/ We take care of our own around here.»
The video premiered on YouTube on July 14 and has been viewed more than 8 million times as of Friday morning.
Aldean defended the song in a brief statement on Tuesday.
«In the last 24 hours, I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been available since May) and the subject of comparison that I (direct quote) was not very happy with the national BLM protests,» he tweeted. «These references are not only without merit, they are also dangerous. There is not a single lyric in the song that references or points to race, and there is not a single video clip that is not actual news material, and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song set to music, this one goes too far.»
The country music star, who is a supporter of former President Donald Trump, went on to say that the lyrics refer to her childhood «where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of origin or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any difference.»
He continued: «My political views have never been something I’ve hidden from, and I know many of us in this country disagree on how we return to a sense of normalcy where we go at least one day without a headline to keep us up at night. But the desire that it does, that’s what this song is about.»
Tacklebox, the production company behind the video, said in a statement to CBS News which chose a «popular shooting location outside of Nashville» that has been used in various other productions.
“Any alternative narrative suggesting the music video location decision is false,” the company said, adding that the singer did not choose that site.
claretta bellamy contributed.