Former Arkansas governor and Republican candidate for president Mike Huckabee was appointed to the board of directors of the Country Music Association Foundation on Wednesday but resigned a day later after several music industry executives complained. Huckabee would’ve helped the foundation in its various charity work with getting music education programs back into schools across the country. Besides being a politician and country music fan, Huckabee plays bass guitar. Other board members felt his experience and music connection would be a great match. Not everyone thought that way.
Jason Owen is owner at Sandbox Entertainment which manages big name country acts like Faith Hill and Little Big Town. He wrote an e-mail to the CMA board calling Huckabee’s appointment a “grossly offensive decision.” Owen warned that none of his stars or companies would support the foundation if Huckabee was allowed to stay.
In his e-mail, Owen stated:
The CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant. Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice.
USA Today gave some background on Owen which sheds some light on why he is so intolerant of another person’s beliefs:
Owen and his husband Sam are fathers to a young son and are expecting twins. Owen said that Huckabee’s stance on the LGBTQ community “made it clear my family is not welcome in his America.”
The manager for Sugarland and CMA member Whitney Pastorek also wrote an angry e-mail suggesting a conservative could never have sympathy for the diversity of children in American schools:
What a terrible disappointment to see (the CMA Foundation’s) mission clouded by the decision to align with someone who so frequently engages in the language of racism, sexism, and bigotry. While Gov. Huckabee's tenure in Arkansas may have resulted in valuable education reform over a decade ago, I find his choice to spend the past ten years profiting off messages of exclusion and hatred (not to mention the gun lobby) to be disqualifying.
The NRA and the “gun lobby” were common themes in the complaints from stars and their management and from users of social media. Prior to the CMA Awards this year, the association asked the media to refrain from asking questions about gun rights in light of the mass shooting at the country music festival in Las Vegas in October. Country artists and executives complained and got the restriction removed so that the leftist country artists that sing about old-fashioned values, but don’t actually believe in, them could complain about guns.
Nashville is well on it’s way to becoming a little Hollywood.