Country music star Morgan Wallen’s racial slur scandal apparently hasn’t put off some fans, as his music soars to the top of the iTunes charts.
On Thursday, two days after the release of a video showing Wallen shouting the slur at buddies outside of his home, his double album Dangerous continued to occupy the top slot on the iTunes album charts.
Wallen’s first album If I Know Me, which was number 54 on the chart before the scandal broke, shot into the number two slot Wednesday, and another version of Dangerous was number three. Wallen songs also occupied seven of the top 10 slots on the songs chart.
Wallen, 27, apologized for his use of the slur but faced tremendous industry backlash, with his label suspending him indefinitely, thousands of radio stations banning his music, and the ACM Awards saying he is no longer eligible.
Wallen’s January album has spent three weeks atop the Bilboard 200, but his albums are now the top three slots on iTunes following video of him using a racial slur
Wallen had the top three albums (left) on iTunes Thursday, and Wallen’s songs also occupied seven of the top 10 slots on the songs chart (right)
Wallen’s label, Big Loud Records, said in a statement on Wednesday that it ‘has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen’s recording contract indefinitely’ after the shocking recording surfaced.
Republic Records, which he is co-signed to, said it agreed with Big Loud’s decision and said ‘such behavior will not be tolerated.’
Meanwhile, iHeartMedia, the largest radio station group owner in the U.S. with more than 855 stations, has banned Wallen’s music from the airwaves, as have other large radio station owners Cumulus Media and Entercom.
Cumulus Media, the nation’s second largest chain of stations, was the first to ban Wallen’s music. Together the three companies run more than 1,500 radio stations.
Wallen is one of the country genre’s biggest young stars, with his new record, ‘Dangerous: The Double Album,’ spending three weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart, but the reaction from the music industry has been swift.
The backlash came after Wallen was heard on a recording made by a neighbor and made public Tuesday, using the slur as he chatted with friends while returning to his Music City home.
The backlash came after Wallen was heard on a recording made by a neighbor and made public Tuesday, using the slur as he chatted with friends outside his home
The Tennessee native’s neighbor recorded the country artist as he came back to his house Sunday with friends, disturbing neighbors with loud noise and car horns.
He was heard saying of an acquaintance, ‘Take care of this p**** ass n*****’ and ‘take care of this p**** ass mother******’ as he entered his abode.
‘I’m embarrassed and sorry,’ the country music artist, 27, told TMZ, which made the video public on Tuesday. ‘I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back.’
He continued, ‘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.’
As of Wednesday morning, streaming apps like Spotify and Apple Music also don’t have his songs in their most popular country music playlists, where normally Wallen had multiple songs from his new album.
The Academy of Country Music, which is currently taking nominations for their annual awards show in April, said in a statement they would ‘halt’ Wallen’s eligibility for this year’s show and will also be reviewing the awards eligibility and submission process.
‘The Academy does not condone or support intolerance or behavior that does not align with our commitment and dedication to diversity and inclusion,’ the ACM statement said.
‘I’m embarrassed and sorry,’ the country music artist said in a statement. ‘I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back’
SiriusXM and Pandora also removed his music from their playlists, according to a spokesman for SiriusXM. The music television channel CMT said it was removing his appearances from all its platforms.
The Tennessee-born singer who has hits with songs like ‘Whiskey Glasses’ and ‘Up Down’ featuring Florida Georgia Line, has done a lot of public apologizing lately.
Wallen was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct in May 2020 after getting kicked out of a downtown Nashville bar.
In October, ‘Saturday Night Live’ dropped him from a scheduled performance on their show after he violated COVID-19 protocols when videos appeared on social media of him partying with fans in Alabama. He was later invited back on the show in December, where he appeared in a skit making fun of himself.
Other country stars criticized his actions publicly.
‘It actually IS representative of our town because this isn’t his first `scuffle´ and he just demolished a huge streaming record last month regardless,’ tweeted country star Maren Morris. ‘We all know it wasn’t his first time using that word. We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse.’
The country music industry faced harsh criticism on Twitter for propping up the performer amid a number of incidents prior to the latest
Other music stars have faced backlash for using racial slurs or derogatory language. Justin Bieber apologized in 2014 for using a racial slur joke in a video from when he was a teenager.
In the past, country radio has sometimes ignored offensive behavior by male stars, even as female artists like the Chicks, formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, were removed from radio for criticizing the U.S. president.
Country star Jason Aldean wore blackface for a Halloween costume in 2015, but never issued an apology, and he remains one of the top selling country artists.
Marcus K. Dowling, a music journalist who has written about Wallen, said the country music industry has experienced a reckoning in the last eight months prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement that has had an effect on the industry’s reaction to Wallen’s words.
‘I feel like it set a trip cord that never existed in country music for racial behavior,’ said Dowling.
‘It was inarguably the black people who work and occupy space in the genre who set that boundary. And any artist, even an artist who has sold well and has over 500 million streams in three weeks, if they cross that line, they were going to be impacted.’