Morgan Wallen Cancels Tour To Work On Himself, Fans Purchase Billboards Of Him “To ‘Right The Wrong’ Of Cancel Culture”
Morgan Wallen has had one of the more unusual and noteworthy career arcs of 2021. At the top of the year the rising country star released Dangerous: The Double Album, a promising and extremely long collection of radio-ready tunes. It debuted atop Billboard‘s album chart and stayed there for weeks. Later that month, he was caught on video using a racial slur. Specifically, in the early hours of the morning, he drunkenly instructed a companion to “Take care of this pussy-ass motherfucker. Take care of this pussy-ass n…a.”
Consequences were swift, if impermanent: dropped from the radio, “suspended” from his recording contract, removed from playlists and landing pages at the streaming services. Wallen issued multiple apologies and claimed that he was working to get his drinking under control. Yet despite the controversy — or maybe because of it — Wallen’s sales actually went up. People kept relentlessly streaming his album, too. The weeks kept rolling by, and no one could seem to budge Wallen from atop the Billboard 200. Eventually, Dangerous became only the third album ever to spend its first 10 weeks at #1. It took fellow lightning rods Justin Bieber and Lana Del Rey to finally dethrone him.
The latest twists in this saga have arrived. In his first Instagram post in eight weeks, Wallen posted a handwritten note thanking his fans for his support and reflecting on his personal growth. The letter ends with an announcement that Wallen will be taking further time to work on himself and will therefore not be touring this summer as planned. “I’ve found this time away to be very valuable to me in many ways, but I feel like I need a little more of it, and therefore I will not be performing tour dates this summer. It means I won’t be playing festivals or the Luke Bryan tour dates. But it’s important to me personally, if you can, still go to these shows and support country music. Country music is back and that’s a beautiful damn thing.”
Speaking of Luke Bryan, he tested positive for COVID this week, which has sidelined him from his American Idol duties. He also won’t perform at this Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards, where he is nominated for the coveted Entertainer Of The Year.
Wallen won’t be at the ACMs either because the organization banned his “involvement and eligibility” in light of his scandal. In a statement announcing the decision, the Academy wrote that it “does not condone or support intolerance or behavior that doesn’t align with our commitment and dedication to diversity and inclusion.” The ban has now occasioned further pro-Wallen gestures from people in his corner.
As Country Now points out, six billboards supporting Wallen popped up in downtown Nashville this week. The billboards feature a silhouette of Wallen, a guitar, his signature ad lib “GAHT,” and a reference to the bible verse Mark 11:25. (That one features Jesus saying, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”) In the center of the billboards is this designation: “HIS FAN’S CHOICE FOR ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.” Presumably they meant to put the apostrophe at the end of the word because the current message implies he only has one fan.
An anonymous source told the website Music Mayhem that the billboards were paid for by a group of Wallen supporters who banded together to combat backlash against the singer. Apparently they raised money for one billboard and ended up with enough money for six, and some leftover funds will go toward a billboard in Wallen’s hometown of Sneedville, Tennessee. “This idea was really our way of trying to ‘right the wrong’ of cancel culture,” the fan said, adding, “We just wanted to ‘Wallen-Paper’ Nashville during the week of the ACMs to show our support for Morgan!” The billboards will remain up through this Monday, April 19, the day after the ACMs.
Read Wallen’s letter to his fans below.