The Country Music Awards kicked off a firestorm of angry outrage yesterday when their rules regarding what the press might ask the artists attending the ceremony leaked out into the public domain. Specifically, the CMA marked the “Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like” as off limits to interviews, both on the red carpet and in the backstage pressroom. Last month, the world was shocked when a gunman opened fire over a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Among those pissed off about the draconian rules was country superstar, and CMA co-host Brad Paisley, who this morning took to Twitter to express his anger at the “ridiculous” and “unfair” measures.
In the press release unveiling the rules, the CMA outlined their thinking by saying that, “It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s [sic] past due to the sensitivities at hand, that the CMA Awards be a celebration of Country Music and the artists that make this genre so great. It’s an evening to honor the outstanding achievements in Country Music of the previous year and we want everyone to feel comfortable talking to press about this exciting time.”
The punishment for breaking this particular set of rules was also quite harsh. “If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort.”
A short while after Paisley’s tweet the CMA issued a statement rescinding their rules. “CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted. The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.”