August 18, 2022

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Morgan Wallen Controversies: A Timeline

Billboard compiled a timeline of Wallen’s biggest controversies over the last year.

May 24, 2020: Wallen is kicked out of Kid Rock’s bar and arrested 

The 27-year-old country star is arrested on public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges following his ejection from Kid Rock’s bar in downtown Nashville. “We didn’t mean any harm, and we want to say sorry to any bar staff or anyone that was affected,” Wallen apologizes in a since-deleted tweet. “Thank you to the local authorities for being so professional and doing their job with class. Love y’all.”

Oct. 3-4, 2020: Maskless partying videos of Wallen surface shortly before his scheduled SNL performance

Videos of Wallen drinking, partying at a packed bar — without a mask — and making out with women emerges online just one week before he’s scheduled to make his SNL debut performance. Other TikTok clips show the singer taking pictures with unmasked fans and playing guitar at what looks like a crowded house party following the University of Alabama game against Texas A&M at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The show has made known their strict coronavirus precautions, with all performers, staff and audience members required to take rapid COVID-19 testing.

Oct. 7, 2020: Wallen gets the boot from SNL‘s Oct. 10 lineup

Roughly 72 hours before he was set to take the stage at SNL, Wallen is pulled from the show after the aforementioned videos went viral. An emotional Wallen, who was already in New York for the show, posts a two-and-a-half-minute video on Instagram explaining the show’s decision and apologizing for his negligence.

“I got a call from the show letting me know that I will no longer be able to play and that’s because of COVID protocols, which I understand,” he says, adding that he has not tested positive for COVID-19. “My actions this past weekend were pretty short-sighted and they have obviously affected my long-term goals and my dreams.”

Oct. 7, 2020: He drops out of Rome River Jam two days prior to his headlining performance

Wallen scraps his headlining two-night festival appearance in Georgia, which was scheduled for the night before his now-canceled debut SNL performance. Rome River Jam, which allows fans to gather in their own socially distanced, open-air pods under heavy safety guidelines, was the largest non-drive-in event planned or country fans since the pandemic began. The festival updates its Instagram to present a new lineup, now featuring Lee Brice as the headliner and with Travis Denning also added to the bill featuring Wallen’s frequent collaborator Hardy and Ashland Craft.

The festival states, “Morgan Wallen’s performance at Rome River Jam will be rescheduled to May 1, 2021. All purchased tickets will be honored for this date. On behalf of Morgan and his team, we sincerely apologize.”

Oct. 9, 2020: SNL‘s Lorne Michaels announces Jack White as Wallen’s replacement and addresses the musical guest switch-up

One day before the week’s show, SNL boss Lorne Michaels announces Jack White as the new musical guest and explains his last-minute decision in a Today show interview from Studio 8H. “He probably isn’t the first country singer, the first person from rock ‘n’ roll who partied after, in that case, a football game or a concert. But we’re just living in a different time and everything is scrutinized,” said Michaels, who later adds that Wallen will get invited back to the show. “Calling somebody on a Thursday to be here for Friday, it’s complicated. It has to be people who are ready to go. And [White]’s always good on the show.”

Dec. 5, 2020: Wallen jokes about breaking COVID-19 protocols during SNL sketch

After making his postponed SNL debut, Wallen pokes fun at himself during a sketch that spoofs the fateful October night when he got caught breaking COVID-19 protocols that led to him getting kicked off the lineup in the first place. In the skit, Wallen is visited by versions of himself one month into the future (played by host Jason Bateman) and two months into the future (SNL‘s Bowen Yang), who try to warn the singer about the consequences of his partying.

Feb. 2, 2020: Video captures Wallen yelling the N-word and other expletives 

TMZ posts a video recorded over the weekend of the Dangerous artist arriving home with friends and advising a group of them getting into another car to “take care” of his buddy while yelling expletives, including the N-word.

“I’m embarrassed and sorry,” Wallen says in an apology to TMZ. “I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”

Feb. 3, 2020: iHeart, Entercom and more pull Wallen’s music from radio airplay

iHeart Media, the largest radio station group in the country, as well as Entercom, Cumulus Media, Beasley Media Group and Cox Media Group pull his music from hundreds of radio stations following his use of the racial slur.

Feb. 3, 2020: Big Loud records suspends his recording contract “indefinitely”

In an unattributed statement posted to its social media accounts, Big Loud writes, “In the wake of recent events, Big Loud Records has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen’s recording contract indefinitely. Republic Records fully supports Big Loud’s decision and agrees such behavior will not be tolerated.” Republic Records shares the same statement on its socials. Big Loud and Republic formed a partnership last summer to work with Wallen together, including plans to promote him globally.

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