After being disinvited from multiple awards shows, including The ACM Awards following his racial slur controversy in February, it was announced on Friday that Morgan Wallen will be ineligible for solo awards at this fall's CMA Awards, though he will still qualify for nominations in collaborative categories. The Country Music Association announced its ballot schedule on Friday, and according to Deadline, issued a press statement declaring that Wallen's 2021 CMA Awards eligibility will be limited to "categories that honor artistic works."
Those categories include Single, Song, Album, Musical Event, and Music Video of the Year. The decision was made so as not to limit opportunities for his collaborators. The 28-year-old will not be eligible in the Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year categories. Wallen has never been nominated for either Male Vocalist of the Year or Entertainer of the Year but was awarded New Artist of the Year in 2020. The first 2021 nomination ballot will be sent out to CMA voters on July 6 and the eligibility period for this year's awards is July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. The controversy surrounding Wallen's use of the n-word has brought out a lot of opinions, both from within the country music industry and from fans.
"There are journalists banned from the CMAs for talking about racism/sexism/gun control/politics but Wallen, who has openly gotten away with being a piece of s—, is openly invited back. Once again, f-— the Country Music Association!" tweeted music journalist Olivia Ladd. "The only thing more sickening than the situation at face value is how many people on the CMA board act performatively progressive but are a part of decisions like this. Representation efforts are null if there's no accountability for white supremacy."
Pretty appalling how the industry decided to let an artist who knowingly used a racial slur in public off with the musical equivalent of a timeout on the naughty step! Can’t help but think if it had been a female artist they wouldn’t have been so lenient! https://t.co/PUpEDE6Wam— Joshua Taylor (@itsjoshtaylor26) May 22, 2021
"Country artists are not entitled to receive a CMA Award and many of them that are far more talented than Morgan never did either," pointed out one fan on Facebook. "And yet his music is constantly trending and charting due to racists wanting to gas him up still to this day. Cancel him completely NOW," wrote another critic on Twitter.
"The CMA Board of Directors amended Wallen’s 2021 CMA Awards eligibility [...] so as not to limit opportunity for other credited collaborators."
Tell me country music is a good ol' boy network without telling me country music is a good ol' boy network. https://t.co/PU8zWd2WzH— Andrea Williams (@AndreaWillWrite) May 21, 2021
Others pointed out that while Wallen's actions were wrong, it wasn't fair that people who had worked on Wallen's music should face career setbacks because of him.
This is dumb tbh, 99% of artists have said problematic things and still eligible its a slippery slope— ꪑ (@famemxnster) May 21, 2021
There were plenty of country fans who were vocally supporting Wallen online as well, probably the same people who are still buying and streaming Wallen's album Dangerous.
Wft y’all need to get over it. He said he was sorry for using the N world. I swear people like y’all get but hurt way to easy over this. Some people dont apologize for using that word but he did. So be glad he did and get over and let it go already https://t.co/qE1HqGv507— Brittany (@Glamerous_Gomez) May 21, 2021
Many felt like Wallen's apology was enough to absolve him for his use of racial slurs. "Everyone deserves a second chance and forgiveness," wrote one fan.
🙄 I'm over this. He did his repenting and admitted he was wrong. Let's move on. https://t.co/RxBSHPbjQB— Amber (@Provie98) May 21, 2021
"Glad he's not going to be 'canceled' like Chris Harrison," tweeted another fan. "People need to grow, learn and get educated."
RIDICULOUS! Just more LIBERAL HYPOCRISY!— Honored to be a Disney Legend (@GOSEEMICKEYRON) May 21, 2021