When Isaac Newton said, “For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction,” he might’ve been talking about the American culture wars. After country star Morgan Wallen was caught on camera using a racial slur, his record contract was suspended and his music pulled from many radio stations. In the aftermath, as Billboard reports, his radio play fell by 70%, while sales of his music skyrocketed by 339%.
On February 2nd, TMZ shared footage of an intoxicated Wallen shouting in his driveway and using the n-word. That day, before the story was widely disseminated, he sold 5,000 total units, about 1,000 of which were copies of his recent release Dangerous: The Double Album. Those numbers may have kept Dangerous on pace to be the No. 1 album in the country for a fourth week in a row. But on February 3rd, as the backlash grew, he sold a staggering 7,000 albums and 22,500 total units. It’s disgusting, if not exactly surprising; racism has been lucrative for centuries.
Still, this initial surge of support won’t sustain as long as the radio ban. Already the largest radio networks including iHeartMedia, Cumulus, and Entercom have pulled Wallen’s music. His tunes have also been yanked from Spotify’s Hot Country Songs and Apple Music’s Today’s Country playlists. Besides that, he’s been barred from this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards.
Earlier this year, Wallen was caught partying maskeless right before a scheduled appearance on Saturday Night Live. SNL dropped him as a musical guest, but he was soon re-booked and even parodied the incident in a sketch. In 2020, he was kicked out of Kid Rock’s bar and arrested. Hopefully, this latest incident causes him to get some help, and not just for his drinking. No level of intoxication makes a person use that word.