Can’t say this is exactly a surprise.
Anyone familiar with Ted Nugent knows many of the rocker’s political stances could be described anywhere from “staunchly conservative” to “absolutely incendiary.” He’s taken up strictly libertarian positions on gun control and backed them up with inflammatory comments that can easily be seen as offensive, to say the least, to those with opposing views.
So when it was announced that Nugent would be playing at Toad’s Place on Aug. 6 in New Haven, a staunchly liberal New England city in a state that’s become the front on gun control after a horrific school massacre, it was only a matter of time before this became an issue.
Nugent’s commentary to the conservative news site Rare following the acquittal of George Zimmerman last week was the last straw before Weston resident John Finegan spoke up against the performance.
“He’s someone who espouses hate, and tries to celebrate the differences in us as Americans moreso than the things that unify and bring us together,” Finegan told Fox CT in an interview.
An editorial in the New Haven Register piles it on with Nugent’s many offensive quotes, saying “Nugent is a racist, misogynistic, homophobic hate-monger who has demeaned and even threatened violence against the people who live in our community,” and requesting the venue call off the show.
Toad’s Place owner Brian Phelps said he’s not canceling, telling Fox CT that the comments are within Nugent’s right to say. “As long as it’s not something totally insane, then that’s their business and they should have the right to say it,” Phelps said. “That’s what this country is all about.”
“Ted Nugent is an entertainer and he has his own views on a lot of stuff. The entire spectrum of entertainer folks go from extreme right to extreme left, and some in the middle,” Phelps added when speaking to the New Haven Register. “But that’s got nothing to do with his show here, nor does it have anything to do with Toad’s Place. This is just a music show. His political views are his, and the media that gets involved with him.”
Thus come the tough questions.
Is there a point where incendiary, hurtful statements trump the right of a performing artist to free expression?
What if this were an outspoken liberal musician playing a show in a conservative city? Would that change things?
Is this a question of Constitutional rights, or common decency?
What do you think? Leave your (constructive) comments below..