Country music star Morgan Wallen was nominated for two American Music Awards, but he will not be a part of the show next month.
Wallen, who in February was met with scorn from many when a viral video showed him saying a racial slur, will not be allowed to perform, present or accept awards during the Nov. 21 show. He was nominated for two awards — Favorite Male Country Artist and Favorite Country Album — which MRC Live & Alternative said was based on his charting positions.
“We plan to evaluate his progress in doing meaningful work as an ally to the Black community and will consider his participation in future shows,” the entertainment company said when announcing nominations.
Their statement linked to a page on the company’s values, which states it is “an anti-racist organization committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Wallen was pulled from country music radio throughout the United States and suspended by his label, Big Loud Records, following the February incident, McClatchy News reported. He quickly apologized for his use of the slur and said there were “no excuses” for his language.
He later sat down with Michael Strahan on “Good Morning America”, where he told the anchor he was drunk the night he was heard uttering the slur and said he did not mean the word in a derogatory way, McClatchy News reported.
“I think I was just ignorant about it,” he said in the interview. “I don’t think I sat down and was, like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?’”
Wallen, the New Artist of the Year at the 2020 CMA Awards, saw his sales skyrocket after he was barred from most of country music radio. Some people said his surge in sales was in retaliation to so-called “cancel culture,” McClatchy News reported.
Wallen will go up against Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Luke Combs in the Favorite Male Country Artist category. He faces Stapleton, Bryan, Gabby Barrett and Lee Brice for Favorite Country Album.
The AMA winners are voted on entirely by fans. It’s unclear what the AMAs will do if Wallen wins either award he is up for.
The AMA’s decision resembles that of the CMA Awards, which banned Wallen from the show despite him being nominated for Album of the Year, Billboard reported.
“This is the first time in the history of the CMA, to my knowledge, anyone has ever been disqualified for conduct,” CMA CEO Sarah Trahern told the Los Angeles Times in September. “Honoring him as an individual this year is not right, and he will not be allowed on the red carpet, on our stage, or be celebrated in any way.”