Longview was in negotiations to have Nugent play at the Fireworks and Freedom Celebration on Independence Day, but backed out after Nugent called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” while campaigning with Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott earlier this year.
According to city spokesman Shawn Hara, Longview had other concerns that led to Nugent being paid $16,250 to end contract negotiations. The amount was half of Nugent’s guaranteed performance fee.
“(There were) a variety of reasons. Cost, structure, is it the right musical act for this type of event -- a city-sponsored, family-oriented overall event,” Hara told the Longview News-Journal. “They decided no, we don’t want to move forward, it is not the right act for this. At that point we decided to end discussions.”
Keith Rothra of the Gregg County Republican Party thinks the decision was based purely on Nugent’s comments about President Obama. “We have paid $16,000 to Ted Nugent for political correctness,” he said. “It’s directly related to the state level stuff.”
The city manager’s office will now be taking over the process of searching for a new artist.