(MCT) -- If city officials are saying Ted Nugent’s shows are not family friendly, the rocker said Tuesday, “Somebody has bamboozled the good citizens of Longview.”
“The lie that my concerts are inappropriate for any city anywhere is absurd,” Nugent said in an email response to questions. “My family friendly concerts are legendary and will continue to be all summer long in 2014.”
Don’t tell Longview officials that. Last month, they paid Nugent’s agents $16,250 to scuttle talks about making him the headliner for the city’s July 4 Fireworks and Freedom Celebration.
Word of the decision reached Nugent after news of the payoff broke Friday in the News-Journal and other media across the country.
The payoff came as Nugent’s earlier comments and song lyrics became a political issue during a campaign swing with Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. But city officials have said the move was more about the propriety of Nugent’s show for a family oriented Independence day festival than that controversy.
Nugent said he was appalled by the move, which he called pure politics.
“Those that hate me are following the Saul Alinsky playbook on how to dismantle, fundamentally transform the greatest nation and quality of life the world has ever known,” he said. “Those that hate me hate America, plain and simple.”
Nugent did not respond Tuesday to questions about published comments he made last week that Longview Mayor Jay Dean is racist and dishonest.
“I hear from reliable sources that the mayor is a racist and was offended that my band performs mostly African-American-influenced music,” Nugent was quoted as saying in a column that appeared Saturday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Everyone knows ol’ Uncle Ted is the ultimate Independence Day rockout with the ultimate all-American, soul music, rockin’ soundtrack of defiance, liberty and freedom. We shall carry on. We are the good guys. Clueless, dishonest people like the mayor are the bad guys.”
Dean said Tuesday he was unaware of the allegations and declined to comment.
Nugent’s response came as the Longview NAACP was urging residents to attend Thursday’s meeting of the Longview City Council.
“TedGate must be explained,” the NAACP said on its Facebook page. “The people demand answers and the unveiling of any clandestine ongoings.”
Branden Johnson, president of the nonprofit organization, said people must understand the importance getting civically engaged.
“Anything that can get people to come out is good for me; I don’t care if it’s negative or positive. People need to hear directly instead of through another source, or watching it on TV or reading it in the paper,” Johnson said. “I would be willing to bet that there are more people in Longview that oppose Ted Nugent’s antics than are for them.”
City spokesman Shawn Hara said, when news of the cancellation broke, the campaign-trail controversy was just one of several factors that led to the city pulling the plug.
“(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 said. “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.”
Dean mirrored the comment.
“That didn’t really fit what we trying to put together, a family oriented program ... and I confirmed with his thoughts that that probably wasn’t the right act,” he said at the time. “And I still feel that it was the right decision. It just didn’t fit with what we were trying to put together.”
The city, a promoter and Nugent’s booking agency disagreed how far along the groups were in negotiations when the city decided to pull the plug, and the groups agreed to settle for half the cost.
In mid-February, a national hullabaloo was raised over comments Nugent made in January about the president. As the fracas continued about Abbott touring with Nugent, previous comments about immigrants and some of his song lyrics, seemingly suggesting child molestation, also were raised.
Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry, both potential candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, disavowed Nugent’s slur of President Obama, whom he called a “subhuman mongrel.”
Abbott, while saying he’s moved beyond the controversy, has declined to back away from his decision to campaign with the rocker known as the Motor City Madman.