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Dolly Parton Says She’s ‘Truly Sorry’ About Dollywood T-Shirt Incident

Dolly Parton
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Dolly Parton is personally reaching out to Olivier Odom, the woman who was asked to turn her ‘Marriage Is So Gay’ T-shirt inside out while visiting Dollywood’s Splash Country with her family in July. Dollywood officials had deemed the shirt offensive and against their family-friendly dress code, but Odom felt like she was being robbed of her First Amendment right to free speech.

“I am truly sorry for any hurt or embarrassment regarding the gay and lesbian T-shirt incident at Dollywood’s Splash Country recently,” Parton said in a statement. “Everyone knows of my personal support of the gay and lesbian community. Dollywood is a family park and all families are welcome. We do have a policy about profanity or controversial messages on clothing or signs. It is to protect the individual wearing or carrying them, as well as to keep down fights or problems by those opposed to it at the park. We even offer free shirts in exchange to those who want to remain on the park.”

Odom complied with the park host — who makes the decisions on what is considered offensive at Dollywood — and was allowed to enter the park. However, she felt targeted by the rule, as she saw many patrons sporting confederate flag T-shirts, which might also be offensive to some. “My shirt was a political statement of equality,” Odom said in July.

Since that day, Odom and her family have been offered a refund on their park admission, but Parton wants to make sure everyone knows she’s now aware of the happening and incredibly apologetic. “I am and was on tour when this was brought to my attention and I am looking further into the incident and hope and believe it was more policy than insensitivity,” she said. “I am very sorry it happened at all.”

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