Country music radio host Bobby Bones came under fire last week for defending Morgan Wallen and criticizing the Country Music Association for making him ineligible for some awards at this year's CMA Awards. Bones, who won Dancing With the Stars in 2018 and appears on American Idol as a mentor, later tried to clarify his position while also claiming his initial comments were "misinterpreted." Wallen, 28, has been a controversial figure in the country music scene since late February 2021, when a video of him using the n-word leaked.
The situation with Bones, 41, began during the July 14 episode of The Bobby Bones Show, in which he talked with Amy Brown and producer Eddie about CMA voting. During the discussion, the topic of Wallen's ineligibility came up, notes Music Mayhem. "Morgan Wallen’s not allowed to win a CMA himself but he’s allowed if he wrote a song and the song gets it. Like he can win it with other people because they didn’t want to eliminate the other people," Bones said. "So, there’s a group of people that are fighting to make sure he wins nothing, even if he was it."
Brown asked Bones why this was the case. Bones said he also wondered why. "That’s what I said, I said ‘move on,'" Bones said. "If he is going to go away, come back and go ‘hey I feel good, I’ve some mistakes, I’ve made a big mistake. Let me try to move forward,’ he can’t win a single award, that just doesn’t seem like a fight that’s worth fighting."
I am TIRED pic.twitter.com/HT69visQjs— Lorie Liebig (@lorieliebig) July 16, 2021
Brown said the situation seemed "exhausting" to her. Then, Bones came up with a hypothetical situation. "Let’s say he writes ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ and there four writers on it and that song wins song of the year, can the other three still win and he just not even get it as a songwriter? But he should," Bones said. Eddie agreed that Wallen should get an award in this case.prevnext
Bobby Bones can fuck off. Wallen didn’t do something “ridiculous”. He used the n-word. Trivializing it like this does no good. Also, maybe the racist fans who support Wallen are the majority of country music fans(I don’t think they are) but even if so, they’re wrong. https://t.co/tvf1RwEZdx— Jason Rector (@jasonrector) July 16, 2021
Bones said he understood the situation with Wallen was "sensitive," but he believes Wallen has been out of the spotlight long enough. "He said, 'Hey I’m going to go and do XYZ and come back and be a better person because of it,'" Bones said, adding that he is taking Wallen at his word. "The problem with living in glass houses and throwing stones is that you’re going to get one back at you," he said. "And so, Let the guy... if he wins a songwriters award, if he wins... you got to let him have the award and I hope [that] that CMA doesn’t get bullied into being like, 'Oh, we got to be... cause he’s already been penalized, he can’t win an award by himself.'"prevnext
I would link to the video but it’s just a rambling of him saying he gets attacked from both sides and how he thinks he should have a second chance. Morgan has had plenty of time to step up and be an advocate for change. He instead went and played at Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk.— Lorie Liebig (@lorieliebig) July 16, 2021
Next, Brown asked Bones how much longer Wallen should be ineligible. Bones then strangely wondered if the CMA would "ban" Wallen from even watching the show. Bones said he believes Wallen deserves a second chance, noting that he has earned second chances himself. Then, he delivered a message to the CMA Board of Directors, telling them, "Don't listen to [a] vocal minority, listen to the silent majority, who’s going ‘let’s just have our show.'" Then, he asked for the country music community to all come together to "just hold hands" and "move on" until "we are told not to." He suggested Wallen should be re-evaluated if he does something controversial again. “He’s going [to go on] to be a massive star,” Bones said. “He’s going to win every award from now on, and then that’s it. The end. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk folks.”prevnext
The Bobby Bones and Margan Wallen call-outs are absolutely appropriate. And if we spend all our energy keeping those men's names in our mouths, we will miss the entire point, which is to de-center white men and boost Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous and Queer ppl in country.— Emily Scott Robinson (@emilyscottrobin) July 17, 2021
Bones' comments angered many, including a journalist who called him the "Joe Rogan of country music and I mean that in the absolute worst way possible." So on July 16, Bones tried to clarify things. On Twitter, he said his comments were "misinterpreted by some" and included his statement from July 16. During the segment, Bones claimed the headlines reading "Bobby Bones says move on" is "not what happened" at all.prevnext
@mrBobbyBones there’s a big difference between perfectly fine oranges who accidentally played a false emergency alert on air and very bad racist apples who are now the poster child for neo-nazi Americans.— Kalie Shorr (@kalieshorr) July 16, 2021
He said he later called up a "writer" friend of his to ask why his comments were considered controversial. The friend told him it was because of the "move on" part. "I was like well let me go on the air and see how it was misconstrued and explain what I meant by it," Bones said. "'Cause I do think and I do hope we could move on. I do, honest to God, I won't back down from that because I think with moving on you actually can move to a better place. Now if you move backward then you gotta move out. That’s a whole different thing."prevnext
This is a super bad take on Morgan Wallen. Bobby Bones doesn’t get to decide when the collective whole “moves on” and when a racist country music star gets a second chance (AGAIN) for showing his true colors. Yikes https://t.co/3k9bzPnPlh— Marybeth (@marybeth_f37) July 16, 2021
Then, Bones went on to say that he doesn't think Wallen should be ineligible to win any award at all. "I don’t believe that my heart says I think he has returned, is better. I know some stuff that he’s done and I know some stuff that he’s doing coming up, but it’s not my story to tell and I haven’t spoken to Morgan one time, but I’m not going to be lumped in with ‘oh he said to move on, he’s your typical white person,'" Bones said. "I’m not going to be lumped in with that group."0comments
Later, Bones said he hopes people "can move on, but no one says just move on and skip over it and not remember it and not work from it." He went on to insist that he promotes inclusion in country music. "Apparently I wasn’t clear enough. I just work too hard at what I do for that to be something that sticks to me because I am the opposite of that. And not just artists of color, female artists," Bones said. "I felt like I never belonged, so I try to make sure everybody gets a shot to belong."
On Feb. 2, TMZ published a video of Wallen using the n-word while walking to his Nashville home on Jan. 31 with friends. Wallen apologized, and his music was banned from most radio networks. Still, his music sales continued to boom, leading to him even winning a Billboard Music Award in May. In one of Wallen's apology videos, he claimed he would meet with the NAACP chapter in Nashville, but its president told TMZ in May that Wallen never did. Wallen returned to the stage on May 19 by performing at the bar owned by Kid Rock, another star with his own controversies.prev