CMA Awards show issues rules against political talk, then backtracks with apology

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Weary of country music’s close proximity to gun control debates after the massacre at the Route 91 Country Music Festival in Las Vegas last month, organizers of this week’s Country Music Association Awards issued a memo Thursday to the media to refrain from “politicizing” coverage of the event.

The new rules would prohibit any questions on the mass shooting in Las Vegas, gun rights or politics, and violating the rule could get reporters escorted out.

After outcries of protest, CMA has issued a statement of apology: “CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted. The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.”

 

In a document sent to press outlining media guidelines for the 51st Annual CMA Awards, the event’s organizers warn journalists that they could have their credentials revoked if they discuss the Las Vegas mass shooting, gun rights or political affiliations in their coverage. The memo was first reported by Nashville Scene.

“In light of recent events, and out of respect for the artists directly or indirectly involved, please refrain from focusing your coverage of the CMA Awards Red Carpet and Backstage Media Center on the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like,” the memo reads. 

“It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s past due to the sensitivities at hand, that the CMA Awards be a celebration of Country Music and the artists that make this genre so great,” the memo continues. “If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort.”

Country music star Brad Paisley blasted the new rule in a Twitter post Friday morning, saying, “I’m sure the CMA will do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair press guidelines. In 3…2….1…..”

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