Morgan Wallen’s fans let loose anti-Biden chants at the first show of new tour

Controversy continues to follow Morgan Wallen, a country music superstar who was caught on camera using a racial slur outside his Nashville home in January 2021.

Mr. Wallen opened his 2022 “Dangerous” tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City — his first concert in over a year. Mr. Wallen’s fans packed the arena and made their political views known, chanting “F—- Joe Biden” and “Let’s go Brandon,” which basically mean the same thing.

Mr. Wallen faced severe consequences for the racial slur. His music was immediately pulled from country radio, which is a big blow for a country artist as the genre is more reliant on radio than other types of music.

Big Loud records suspended Mr. Wallen’s contract, his music was removed from Country Music Television, and he was banned from the Country Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Mr. Wallen was also dropped by his booking agency WME, and his music was removed from all Spotify and Apple Music curated playlists.

Despite the controversy, Mr. Wallen remains one of country music’s biggest stars. His 2021 double album “Dangerous” was one of the most successful country albums of all time. The record was just the fourth country album to finish a year atop the Billboard Top 200 chart.

Mr. Wallen has attempted to repair his image. He spent 30 days in rehab in San Diego and donated $500,000 to the National Museum of African American Music, following up additional donations to several anti-racism music organizations.

“My words matter. A word can truly hurt a person and at my core, it’s not what I’m OK with,” Mr. Wallen said in an interview with “Good Morning America” in July 2021. “This week I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me. And I know what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to some of the trials I heard about from them.”

He added that the conversations gave him a “clearer understanding of the weight” of his words.

The country music industry made it clear that they were distancing themselves immediately after the controversy.

“Overall, the industry’s inclination was to get as far away from the incident as possible. But in terms of how the people that did business with him reacted, they pulled back for a while,” country music historian Brian Mansfield said. “I think partially to see what the overall reaction would be, but also because they didn’t want to associate themselves with his behavior.”

Despite the success of “Dangerous,” which remained in the Billboard Top 10 more than a year after its release, Mr. Mansfield believes that the “Whiskey Glasses” singer hasn’t reached his full potential.

“He had a really good year, and I think that makes it hard for people to see just how big he could have been by now,” Mr. Mansfield said. “I think in some ways he became more popular. But I think that he would have been even bigger if this hadn’t happened.”

Mr. Wallen’s career has started to recover. His music is back on country radio, his record deal with Big Loud was reinstated, and he is nominated in three categories at the 2022 ACM awards, scheduled for March 7.

Despite everything, Wallen’s fan base remains as loyal as ever, according to a survey by P1 Media Group.

“I don’t think this was ever the issue for his fan base. It was a very big deal in the country music media. I don’t think it was a very big deal with his audience,” Mr. Mansfield said.

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