“CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted,” the group said in a statement. “The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.”
The backpedal comes after country star — and CMAs co-host — Brad Paisley and others squawked about the planned question ban, which was seen as a veiled reference to the horrific shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas last month:
After the ban was lifted, the multiplatinum singer tweeted:
With scads of top talent descending on Music City for next week’s 51st annual trophy show on ABC, the CMA initially issued media guidelines that read in part: “In light of recent events, and out of respect for the artists directly or indirectly involved, please refrain from focusing your coverage of the CMA Awards Red Carpet and Backstage Media Center on the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like. It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s 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.”
The organization’s guidelines also including a warning for writers who chose to ignore them: “If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort.”
The plan immediately created a backlash on social media. Among the complaints:
The tragic mass shooting in Vegas claimed 58 lives and left hundreds wounded after near-automatic gunfire broke out during country star Jason Aldean set that closed the Highway 91 festival. The shooter was holed up in room on the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay hotel, and he fired across the Las Vegas Strip at the crowd of 22,000 watching the outdoor concert.