Trace Adkins Defends Jason Aldean, Morgan Wallen: ‘They’re Not Racist’
Trace Adkins showed his support for Morgan Wallen and Jason Aldean during a new appearance on comedian Bill Maher's Club Random podcast earlier this week, defending both country superstars against the scandals and accusations of racism that Wallen and Aldean have individually faced.
During the conversation, Maher brought up Aldean's "Try That in a Small Town" -- a song and accompanying music video that faced significant backlash last year. Many listeners criticized "Small Town" as racist dogwhistling and a glorification of gun-based vigilante justice, and pointed out that large parts of the music video were filmed in front of Tennessee's Maury County Courthouse -- where a Black man named Henry Choate was hung dead after being lynched in 1927.
But Adkins brushed off the notion that Aldean could have intentionally chosen a video location with racist history. "He had no idea," the singer said.
"It's all so silly anyway," he continued. "The grievance junkies turn on somebody and they try to cancel them, and all it's gonna do, he's gonna sell more records than he ever has. It's just gonna make him bigger than he's ever been...Because he had no idea, man.
"You know how many music videos I've done that I've called up the director and went, 'Hey man, what about this location where we're shooting this thing?'" he said sarcastically, making the point that it's not typical for artists to do their own research on filming locations -- or double-check with the members of their team who do make those decisions. "...He had no idea. That director picked that location because it had the look they wanted."
Back in November, Aldean said he wasn't aware of the history behind the Maury County Courthouse, and allowed that if he had, he would "probably" have chosen a different spot. He also noted that racially-motivated tragedies like Henry Choate's murder have taken place at many Southern landmarks, making the point that it would've been difficult to select a filming location without racist history attached to it.
Maher and Adkins also touched on Morgan Wallen, who was at the center of a racist slur scandal in early 2021, after he drunkenly called out the N-word while bidding goodnight to a car full of friends. A neighbor's doorcam footage caught the incident, which ran on TMZ, and Wallen was quickly benched from a bulk of country radio stations, disqualified from major awards shows and had his likeness removed from CMT.
He remained on the sidelines for much of that year, but as Adkins points out in the podcast episode, the young superstar was quick to return to the top of his game. In fact, the whole thing seemed to only make Wallen more alluring in the eyes of his fans, who propelled him to an even greater echelon of stardom than before the incident.
"He sold out two nights in a row, 55,000+ tickets each night. You know? God, cancel me," Adkins joked, referring to the stadium show success Wallen has seen over the course of 2022 and 2023.
When Maher opined that he didn't believe Aldean and Wallen were racist, Adkins agreed. "I've been around both of those guys. They're good guys, you know? They're not racist," he concluded.
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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes