Morgan Wallen, possibly one of this year's most controversial country music artists, has been banned from the Country Music Association's Awards despite being still nominated for Album of the Year for his project Dangerous. Wallen's public reputation has been a topic of conversation since he was filmed earlier this year drunkenly shouting the N-word. The outburst caused him to lose a number of gigs as well as valuable airtime for his music. Major broadcast radio networks Cumulus Media, iHeartRadio and Entercom, the cable network CMT, the satellite service SiriusXM and the streaming service Pandora all pulled his music from their platforms following the incident in February.
"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 LA Times. "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."
While he still has a nomination for a major category, Wallen was already limited in his participation in the show. The CMA board decided to keep Wallen off the Entertainer and Vocalist ballots but allowed his other works to be nominated "so as to not limit the opportunity for other credited collaborators." The nod serves as Wallen's only recognition for a major country music show this year. He was also left off the ballot for the Academy of Country Music and CMT awards.
Wallen has made multiple apologies for the incident. He appeared on Good Morning America with Michael Strahan in an attempt to explain himself and express his regret. We say dumb stuff together," the singer told Strahan. "In our minds, it was just playful. That sounds ignorant, but that's really where it came from. It was wrong." Wallen used the word while speaking to a drunk friend (who is white). "We were all clearly drunk. I was asking his girlfriend to take care of him." He added: "I think I was just ignorant about it. I don't think I ever sat down and said this is right or this is wrong."