The National Rifle Association has been forced to cancel its “Grand Ole Night of Freedom” concert after the event became free of talent. Mr. “God Bless the USA” himself, fervent Trump supporter Lee Greenwood, has joined a mass exodus of musicians trying to distance themselves from the NRA in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
As Greenwood explained on Fox and Friends (via The Daily Beast), he felt that performing at the concert would be an endorsement of the AR-15, which was used to murder 19 children and two teachers. “For me to go and play at the NRA just days after the shooting would be an endorsement, and people would then deem that as [me saying] ‘I like this weapon.’ Obviously, that weapon killed kids. I just couldn’t go.”
He becomes the latest artist to pull out in what has turned into a mass exodus. Earlier this week, Don McClean of “American Pie” fame announced his withdrawal, saying, “I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week.”
Besides those two, T. Graham Brown, Larry Stewart, Larry Gatlin, and SiriusXM Y2Kountry host Danielle Peck had all publicly announced their departure from the concert as of Friday morning. Jacob Bryant, who was thought to be the last remaining artist scheduled to appear, tweeted today around noon ET that he had “dropped out yesterday.”
Among the scheduled performers, the strongest criticism of the NRA came from 74-year-old gospel singer Gatlin. He ripped the lobbying group for not supporting background checks, telling USA Today, “I’m a Second Amendment guy. But the Second Amendment should not apply to everyone. It’s that simple.”
The horrific events in Uvalde have caused all sorts of pop culture entities to reckon with violence. Today, Stranger Things added a disclaimer to Season 4 ahead of an episode that depicts children in violent situations.