Social media users, some of whom are identifying themselves as country music fans, are calling for a boycott of the Country Music Television network after it pulled Jason Aldean’s controversial music video for “Try That in a Small Town.”
CMT had initially aired the video, but yanked it on Monday after it garnered widespread attention over its lyrics and for featuring a Tennessee courthouse where a Black teenager was lynched in 1927. CMT did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
The network’s decision to not air the video caused an uproar on Twitter.
“@CMT is no longer for country fans. Not watching any longer unless they apologize,” one person tweeted.
“@CMT you guys have lost your mind. Until you play @Jason_Aldean try that in a small town. I’m turning the channel,” another Twitter user wrote. “The foundation of country music was made from small town values and helping your neighbors. You guys are a disgrace.”
Politicians and other notable figures also weighed in.
“How on earth is this video controversial? Why would @cmt take it down? Support @Jason_Aldean and other artists who have the guts to tell the truth… watch it, download it, and push back against the bs,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, sharing a clip of the music video.
Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter: “CMT has gone WOKE! Do they know who their viewers are? Guess not!! I’ll tell you this — I’ll NEVER watch CMT ever again. BOYCOTT CMT!!”
Kristi Noem, the Gov. of South Dakota, told Aldean in a tweet that if he wanted to “play somewhere that won’t cancel him for his patriotic values, I would be honored to host him at the Governor’s Residence!”
In Aldean’s video, the country singer and his band perform in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, the same site where 18-year-old Henry Choate was lynched in 1927 after he was accused of assaulting a white 16-year-old girl.
Choate was jailed, but a mob of hundreds of white people kidnapped him from his cell, tied him to the back of a car, dragged him across town, and lynched him in front of the courthouse.
The video also includes scenes of the American flag being burned and clips seemingly of Black Lives Matter protests. Aldean sings lyrics such as “Cuss out a cop, spit in his face/ Stomp on the flag and light it up/ Yeah, ya think you’re tough. Well try that in a small town see how far ya make it down the road/’round here we take care of our own.”
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 written statement on Tuesday.
“In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests,” he tweeted. “These references are not only meritless, but dangerous. There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far. “
The country music star, who is a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, went on to say that the lyrics refer to his childhood “where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences.”
He continued: “My political views have never been something I’ve hidden from, and I know that a lot of us in this country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least a day without a headline that keeps us up at night. But the desire for it to — that’s what this song is about.”
Tacklebox, the production company behind the video, said in a statement to CBS News that it picked a “popular filming location outside of Nashville” that has been used on several other productions.
“Any alternative narrative suggesting the music video’s location decision is false,” the company said, adding that the singer did not choose that site.
Claretta Bellamy contributed.
Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff