US country music star Morgan Wallen has been removed from more than 400 US radio playlists after a video emerged of him using a racial slur.
In the footage, reportedly filmed by a neighbour last weekend, the 27-year-old is seen saying goodbye to some friends and calling one of them the N-word.
The Nashville star, whose latest album has been number one in the US for the past three weeks, has apologised.
“I’m embarrassed and sorry,” he told TMZ, which first published the video.
“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.”
Wallen, whose career began on the US version of TV talent show The Voice, is currently one of the biggest country stars in the US.
His latest record, Dangerous: The Double Album, is the first country record to spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard chart since Taylor Swift’s Red in 2012.
However, one of America’s biggest radio networks, Cumulus Media, has distanced itself from the star.
“Effective immediately we request that all of Morgan Wallen’s music be removed from our playlists without exception,” said a directive sent to all of the company’s 400-plus radio stations.
Wallen’s songs also appear to have been removed from Spotify’s Hot Country Songs playlist and Apple Music’s equivalent, Today’s Country.
Such a move is significant because Dangerous has been a rare streaming smash, with 88% of its consumption coming via streaming services, according to MRC Data, which compiles the US charts.
However, the star still claimed 11 of the top 100 songs in Spotify’s most-played chart on Tuesday.
‘No place for you’
Some of Wallen’s fellow country musicians, including Kelsea Ballerini and Mickey Guyton, have called him out on Twitter.
The hate runs deep. Smfh https://t.co/VIf4b0bKud— Mickey Guyton (@MickeyGuyton) February 3, 2021
The news out of Nashville tonight does not represent country music.— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) February 3, 2021
Singer Maren Morris criticised the country scene for not taking a stronger line against stars who hold racist views. “We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse,” she wrote.
Justin Fabus agreed, saying: “Enough is enough. If you condone or try to justify @MorganWallen’s latest behavior, there is NO place for you in the Country Music community or ANY community.”
This is not the first time Wallen has landed himself in trouble. In May, he was arrested and charged with public intoxication after being kicked out of Kid Rock’s bar in Nashville.
In October, he was dropped from an episode of Saturday Night Live after a video emerged of him breaking Covid-19 rules by partying with fans without wearing a mask or social distancing at an American football game.
At the time of writing, the star’s current single, 7 Summers, is still on the playlist at BBC Radio 2 in the UK.
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