CMAs Deny Removing Coverage Of Beyoncé & Dixie Chicks In Response To Racist Trolls

Country music fans aren’t exactly known as the most, shall we say, tolerant sort, and they certainly weren’t very tolerant of Beyoncé’s performance with the Dixie Chicks at the Country Music Association Awards last night. Although the audience in Nashville loved it, many racist trolls did not, and they were not at all shy about sharing their opinions from behind the safety of a computer screen.

After some Beyoncé fans noticed that a promotional post announcing Beyoncé’s surprise appearance had been deleted from the CMAs’ Twitter and Facebook pages, many speculated that the show was removing its Beyoncé coverage in response to the considerable backlash. As an anonymous source “directly connected with the CMAS” told TMZ, the CMAs “just want this to go away.” Obviously, the Beyhive wasn’t too happy about that, and they began inundating the CMA Instagram with lemon and bee emojis, and it became a whole big thing.

But Sarah Trahern, chief executive of the Country Music Association, denies removing any coverage in response to the backlage. In a new interview, she tells The New York Times that the initial promotional clip was removed at Beyoncé’s request before she even performed. “Beyoncé’s team hadn’t approved that, so we pulled it down,” she says. “Fans can get kind of passionate and read other things into it.”

And as for the CMAs’ minimal coverage of the performance, Trahern says that Beyoncé provided her own photographer and only approved one official live video (on ABC.com). “We stand by it,” she says of Beyoncé’s performance. “If a program moves people so much one way or another, I think we’ve had a successful show. We believe in free speech and people can post what they’re going to post. It’s about the music, not about politics.”

The Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines has also addressed the controversy on Twitter: