Cancel culture? Try that in a small town.
Cancel culture has ruined careers and reputations across America in recent years as college campuses, corporate workspaces and social media platforms have been inundated with the growing trend. Many feel that country music superstar Jason Aldean is the latest victim, or at least the latest attempt at it.
Country Music Television (CMT) pulled Aldean’s “Try That In A Small Town” video from circulation this week after the musician received immense backlash over the song’s lyrics and music video’s visuals. Some have even suggested it is a “pro-lynching song” — a narrative Aldean adamantly denies.
“It’s interesting how the left will cancel a song about how crime isn’t welcome in a town, yet push songs that glorify drugs, violence and sex,” comedian Tim Young told Fox News Digital.
“Aldean is a victim of cancel culture, but as we’ve seen recently, conservatives have finally learned how to be heard with their money and how they spend it,” Young continued. “I expect his canceling to have the complete opposite effect, where he will make more money and sell more tickets, and be heard by even more people because the left tried to cancel him.”
In the video, Aldean’s lyrics are heard while news coverage from the 2020 riots illustrates his message. Some of the lyrics include mentions of illegal acts that occurred during rioting and the government confiscating guns before he warns, “Well, try that in a small town, see how far ya make it down the road.”
Consumers’ Research, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase the knowledge and understanding of issues, policies, products, and services of concern to consumers, put out a “woke alert” urging CMT to “focus on playing that good old-fashioned American music and stop pandering to the woke mob.”
“CMT has put woke activists ahead of their own viewers by pulling Jason Aldean’s music video off of its platform. This is another blatant attempt by the cancel culture mob to silence viewpoints other than their own, a clear attack on America’s first freedom, the freedom of speech,” Consumers’ Research executive director Will Hild told Fox News Digital.
“This kind of behavior from companies is why Consumers’ Research created Woke Alerts, so consumers would be able to easily see which companies are pushing woke ideology in their business practices,” he added. “These companies need to focus on their consumers, not woke politicians.”
Aldean was also criticized for choosing to film the video at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee. Mississippi Free Press news editor Ashton Pittman said the site of the video is where a “White lynch mob strung Henry Choate up at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tenn., after dragging his body through the streets with a car in 1927. That’s where Aldean chose to sing about murdering people who don’t respect police.”
Musician Winston Marshall, who once faced widespread backlash after tweeting support for a book by a conservative author, can relate to cancellation efforts.
“I know a little bit about what he’s going through,” Marshall said Thursday on “FOX & Friends.”
“To say that the controversy is… the location of the filming is a bait and switch,” Marshall said. “It’s a bait and switch, which they’re trying to turn this anti-violence, anti-abuse song into somehow a pro-lynching, pro-racist. It’s utter nonsense.”
Many conservatives feel the song carries a message that Americans who reside in small towns simply don’t put up with the nonsense that occurs in big cities, but others believe its wildly inappropriate.
“Notice what gets canceled: not the explicit songs that objectify women, glorify drugs, and attack the police – but an honest song about present-day life in America,” former Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler tweeted. “Jason Aldean is giving a voice to millions of Americans – and making Georgia proud.”
Prominent gun-control activist Shannon Watts took credit for CMT’s decision in scrubbing the video after she brought attention to it with a viral tweet claiming it was about “how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns.”
OutKick founder Clay Travis believes liberal artists are free to say whatever they want, and a clear double standard is at play.
“Jason Aldean is saying a pinprick of what left-wing musicians and artists are doing on a regular basis and frankly, I think it’s disgraceful, I think it’s pathetic, I think it’s indefensible that he’s not given the right to say exactly what he thinks,” Travis said on “Jesse Watters Primetime. “I give credit to Jason Aldean for pushing the boundaries.”
In fact, Travis believes that CMT honchos abandoned Aldean’s video because they were afraid to be canceled themselves.
“I guarantee you the head of CMT is terrified that if he doesn’t take this action, he or she is going to lose their job,” Travis said.
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem also joined the wave of conservatives on social media defending Aldean.
“I am shocked by what I’m seeing in this country with people attempting to cancel this song and cancel Jason and his beliefs,” Noem posted in a video on Twitter.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted, “Cancel culture is the enemy of freedom of expression. I stand with @Jason_Aldean!”
On Tuesday, Aldean addressed the response to his song.
“In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” Aldean told his social media followers.
“There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it – and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage – and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music – this one goes too far.”
Far-left Twitter personality Brian Krassenstein seems to agree with the conservative musician.
“As someone who thinks that the whole ANTIFA narrative that the right pushes is mostly exaggerated BS, I have to say that I think it’s quite pathetic that CMT has basically canceled Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’ music video,’” he tweeted.
“Rioting is bad. Breaking into stores to steal merchandise is bad. Carjacking and injuring police are bad things. These things could legally get you shot,” Krassenstein continued. “Nowhere does Aldean ever mention race, or make this political in any way. There are legitimately bad things that people do and say. Aldean’s song is NOT one of them. People need to stop overreacting and start listening.”
The production company for the music video, TackleBox, has confirmed the video was shot at Maury County Courthouse, adding that it is a “popular filming location outside of Nashville.”
Several music videos and movies have filmed there, including the Lifetime Original movie “Steppin’ into the Holiday” with Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer. TackleBox also noted that the location was featured in a Runaway June music video for their 2019 song “We Were Rich,” the 2022 Paramount holiday film “A Nashville Country Christmas” with Tanya Tucker, and Miley Cyrus’ 2009 film “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” In its statement, the company said, “Any alternative narrative suggesting the music video’s location decision is false,” and noted that Aldean did not pick the location.