Ryman Auditorium: Say NO to gun violence, stop paying and promoting Ted Nugent

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As was reported in major news organizations Feb. 21, 2018, National Rifle Association Board member & musician Ted Nugent claims the Parkland, FL students speaking up and demanding changes in US gun laws after 17 of their teachers and classmates were murdered are "paid actors.” In March 2018, Nugent called March For Our Lives (largest youth demonstration since the Vietnam War era) "ignorant children" being manipulated by "adult scammers" and said that participants are "dangerously stupid... they have no soul."  March For Our Lives drew tens of thousands of participants here in Nashville and all across the state.

Those in the gun reform community have had concerns about Nugent for some time. In 2008 Nugent called for then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to “suck my machine gun.”  More recently he called 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (who won Nashville by 27 points) a "worthless b-tch” and said she should be shot. In October 2017, Nugent appeared on various forms of media with alt-right personality Alex Jones and accused the Democratic Party of orchestrating the Las Vegas shooting in which over 50 country music fans were killed. He repeated this theme on April 7, 2018 when he said Democrats should be "shot like coyotes." Nugent has promised to moderate his rhetoric but clearly, this hasn't happened.

Twice in the last year the Ryman Auditorium has booked Ted Nugent to play (July 19, 2017; July 18, 2018.)  While the Ryman is a privately held company, it is promoted by a number of public agencies including Nashville's Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Private citizens stepped forward to save the building from demolition in the 1990s and continue to support its interests as one of Nashville's premier concert venues.  

Repeatedly, citizens of Nashville have made their wishes known in supporting legislation to ban guns in parks and in bars. The Ryman Auditorium itself bans guns.

Twice in the last year Nashville has been victimized by mass shootings.  The first, a church shooting, occurred in September 2017, the second event at Waffle House in Antioch took place just today (April 22, 2018.) 

We're not against the Ryman in general.  Many terrific acts we love play there and we're big fans of preservation of the city's history.  But we think that, in respect to the victims of these local shootings, it's the height of incivility to give someone like Ted Nugent a platform, a paycheck and the stamp of respectability.  We might note the Nashville Predators organization recently stopped using Nugent's music as part of a promotion it holds with the Tennessee Lottery.

We're calling on musicians who perform at the Ryman and members of the Nashville community at large to ask this venue to stop paying and promoting Ted Nugent. 

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