Country singer Jason Aldean has been dropped by his longtime PR firm, GreenRoom PR, after his wife, Brittany Aldean, criticized early interventions on gender transitioning for young children. Brittany Aldean said that she was thankful that her parents did not intervene during her “tomboy phase” because she loves being a female. Various stars and advocates denounced her and GreenRoom then dropped her husband. What is interesting is that the company had its client list displayed yesterday but just removed the list and its home page. The effort may be to protect other country stars from the backlash of staying with the company when it is effectively blacklisting an artist for the political or social views of his spouse.
Tyne Parrish, the co-owner of The Green Room called it a “difficult decision after 17 years to step away from representing Jason.”
The call for the firm to drop the artist grew after this statement last week in an Instagram post by Aldean that she would “really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase.”
“The Bones” singer Maren Morris later commented on Pope’s post, writing, “It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie.”
Aldean later responded to her critics by saying “Advocating for the genital mutilation of children under the disguise of love and calling it ‘gender affirming care’ is one of the worst evils.”
Singer and songwriter Cassadee Pope responded to Brittany Aldean’s post on Twitter, noting that Brittany Aldean’s alleged “tomboy phase” in no way compares “to someone wanting to transition.”
Pope captured the essence of many people who are angry with the comment.
However, my concern, as usual, is with the free speech implications of what has become a type of blacklisting culture for those with unpopular or controversial political, social, or religious views. I understand the objections to Aldean’s comments but the response is reminiscent of the campaign against JK Rowling as a TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist), including banning and burning her books. There is no willingness to separate her creative work from her personal views.
In this case, a singer is being blacklisted because his wife (and possibly Aldean himself) hold conservative views on gender transitioning for young children. Yet, while some artists have joined the campaign, most others are silent, including the country singers represented by Green Room PR.
Those listed artists included Lauren Akins, Tucker Beathard, Dierks Bentley, Bobby Bones, BROOKS & DUNN, Travis Denning, Patrict Droney, Caylee Hammack, and others. The home page now says simply “Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org” if you want to know who the firm represents or anything about the firm.
The concern is clearly that these artists might make the “difficult decision” of separating from the firm after it dropped a fellow artist over the political and social views of his spouse. The firm yielded to the pressure on one side but seems to be moving to protect itself from a backlash from country music fans.
I would be raising the same free speech concerns if an artist was dropped because a spouse supported gender transitioning. The issue is whether the arts community should impose a de facto political litmus test for artists. Blacklisting by studios and firms was common in the 1950s when communists and other political dissenters were being attacked by figures like Eugene McCarthy. The left has now embraced the practice in a far more extensive systems of banning books, speakers, and events by those who hold opposing views.
Here is Aldean’s interview on Fox News: