Don McLean to UCLA After Losing Lifetime Achievement Award: ‘Are You People Morons?’
Hours after learning he wouldn't be receiving the George and Ira Gershwin Award for lifetime musical achievement, "American Pie" singer Don McLean let loose on Facebook. A Monday night message to UCLA includes name-calling and implied accusations.
McLean says he's guilty of nothing to do with assault, adding: "We live in a dark age of accusation and not law."
"This (news of a January 2016 domestic violence incident) has been all over the internet for 3 years," he writes. "Are you people morons? This is settled law. Maybe I need to give you some bribe money to grease the college wheels. Don't ever come near me again unless you offer me an apology for the damage you have done me."
The Student Alumni Association at UCLA in Los Angeles took back an offer for McLean to accept the award during a May 17 ceremony. Tod M. Tamberg, a spokesman for UCLA, tells the Portland Press Herald (Maine) that the decision was made by the alumni association's Spring Sing Executive Committee upon learning of 2016 charges made against the singer.
McLean's publicist, Jeremy Westby of 2911 Media, expressed surprise and disappointment that McLean was not properly vetted ahead of time, adding in an email to the student group that it is "publicly disrespectful and grossly humiliating to Mr. McLean to issue and then rescind an award based on the supposition of any violent criminal history."
McLean was arrested at his Camden, Maine, home in January 2016 when his then-wife Patrisha claimed he had been terrorizing her. He was charged with domestic violence and later charged with threatening, terrorizing, criminal restraint, obstruction and criminal mischief. Initially he pleaded not guilty to all charges, but later said he was guilty of misdemeanor counts of domestic assault, domestic violence criminal threatening, criminal mischief and criminal restraint under a plea deal. Under the terms of the plea, if McLean complied and pays $3,000 in court costs, avoided contact with his wife for 12 months and underwent a 60-day mental health evaluation, the charges would be dismissed.
The singer has consistently said he is not guilty of the crimes he was accused of, and after the plea his lawyer said the plea was not an admission of guilt. The Press Herald reports that the charges were dismissed in July 2017.
Less than two months after the incident, his wife filed for divorce, citing "adultery, cruel and abusive treatment and irreconcilable differences.” She alleged years and years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her husband. The photographer has gone on to become an advocate for speaking out against domestic abuse and plans to open an exhibit called "Finding Our Voices: Breaking the Silence of Domestic Abuse" this year.
Per his official website, McLean has more than 20 concerts scheduled for 2019.
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