Backlash against Morgan Wallen's use of a racial slur is continuing. A day after video of the incident surfaced and sparked public outcry, fellow country singer Jason Isbell, an artist Wallen admires and whose track "Cover Me Up" Wallen covered on his new LP Dangerous: The Double Album, took to social media to condemn Wallen's behavior as "disgusting and horrifying."
Responding to a fan asking his thoughts on the now highly publicized incident, in which Wallen was captured on video using the N-word, Isbell suggested the industry should not simply move past this incident, as some have suggested, but rather use it as an example. He called it "an opportunity for the country music industry to give that spot to somebody who deserves it." He noted that "there are lots of black artists who deserve it," something fellow country star Mickey Guyton noted in her own condemnation of the Wallen's behavior.
Wallen’s behavior is disgusting and horrifying. I think this is an opportunity for the country music industry to give that spot to somebody who deserves it, and there are lots of black artists who deserve it. https://t.co/14B77zLgMR— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) February 3, 2021
Isbell's remarks did not go over well with everyone. One person responded by stating they had thought Isbell "would definitely recognize and acknowledge that" Wallen, who was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct in May 2020, "clearly has a toxic relationship with alcohol." That person said the singer's "self destructive behavior is concerning and unhealthy and he clearly needs help." Isbell defended his comment, explaining that he didn't advocate to "'tar and feather the boy.'" He said if Wallen were to take this experience and make "real change," he will "be just fine," though if he "isn't held accountable, black people in the industry will know how little country music really cares about them, even now. And that's much sadder to me than alcoholism."
Isbell also hit back at claims that Wallen simply used the racial slur because he was under the influence of alcohol, writing, "alcohol doesn't make you use that word. They don't actually put Jack Daniel's blood in it."
Wallen ended his remarks by speaking to the massive impact Black musicians and other people of color have had on music. He said he would "argue that the music wasn't built on the backs of black people," but rather, "Black people actually BUILT the music. Then it was taken from them. Country music, too."
So far, Wallen has faced numerous repercussions amid the controversy. He has been pulled from country radio, and his label, Big Loud, announced Wednesday they have suspended the singer "indefinitely." Wallen issued an apology calling his use of the racial slur "unacceptable" and vowed "to do better."