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Morgan Wallen ineligible for ACM Awards after using racial slur

Morgan Wallen ineligible for ACM Awards after using racial slur
Morgan Wallen faced further industry backlash after a video surfaced of him using a racial slur during a night out. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Morgan Wallen is no longer eligible to be nominated for the 2021 ACM Awards, the Academy of Country Music said Wednesday.

The announcement came amid growing industry backlash toward Wallen, 27, who was seen using a racial slur in a leaked video this week.

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"The Academy of Country Music will halt Morgan Wallen's potential involvement and eligibility for this year's 56th Academy of Country Music Awards cycle," the ACM said in a statement. "We have made his management team aware of this decision. The Academy does not condone or support intolerance or behavior that doesn't align with our commitment and dedication to diversity and inclusion."

"In the coming weeks, the Academy will expedite the offering of long-planned diversity training resources for our ACM Membership, Board, Staff, and the Country Music artist community, made available through our Diversity + Inclusion Task Force, established in 2018" the academy said. "As a result of this unprecedented situation, the Academy will be reviewing our awards eligibility and submission process, ensuring our nominees consistently reflect the Academy's integrity."

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Wallen, who won the ACM Award for New Male Artist of the Year in 2020, apologized in a statement Tuesday after a video showed him using a racial slur while returning from a night out with friends.

"I'm embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever," the singer said. "I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better."

Wallen's record label, Big Loud Records, suspended the singer's recording contract in light of the incident. In addition, Cumulus Media, iHeartMedia and other companies pulled Wallen's music from radio stations, while CMT removed Wallen's appearances from its platforms.

Variety said airplay for Wallen's music on country music stations had dropped an overall 80% by Wednesday afternoon.

Country music singer Mickey Guyton, who is Black, addressed the situation with Wallen and her experience in the country music community in a series of tweets Wednesday.

"When I read comments saying 'this is not who we are' I laugh because this is exactly who country music is," Guyton wrote. "I've witnesses it for 10 gd years. You guys should just read some of the vile comments hurled at me on a daily basis. It's a cold hard truth to face but it is the truth."

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"I love country music so much. There are amazing people in this genre behind the scenes and in front of the cameras that have kept me sane all these years. Those are the people we must keep reminding ourselves are out there and worth supporting and listening to," she added.

"And lastly, I do not believe in cancel culture. Watching anyone fall from grace is a terrible thing to see. People must all be given a chance to change. Morgan must feel the weight of his words but completely throwing someone away is detrimental to anyone's mental health," she concluded.

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