The Country Music Association found itself buried in an avalanche of criticism after it issued an edict restricting members of the press covering next week’s CMA Awards from asking the artists questions about sensitive topics such as guns, politics and the recent massacre at a Las Vegas country concert.
After even the ceremony’s co-host, country music fixture Brad Paisley, ripped the organization over the bizarre rule, the CMA thought better of it and rescinded the policy.
The CMA released a statement saying: “CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted. The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.”
The apology was issued soon after Paisley tweeted about the restrictions, writing: “I’m sure the CMA will do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair press guidelines.” You can see Paisley’s tweet below.
The CMA guidelines, issued Thursday morning, included this passage: “It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s [sic] past due to the sensitivities at hand, that the CMA Awards be a celebration of Country Music and the artists that make this genre so great. It’s an evening to honor the outstanding achievements in Country Music of the previous year and we want everyone to feel comfortable talking to press about this exciting time.”
The guidelines specified that reporters covering either the red carpet or the backstage pressroom were not to ask about the “Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like.”
And there was this stern passage, which got a lot of attention: “If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort.”
Following the CMA’s announcement that it had rescinded the edict, Paisley tweeted: “Bravo CMA awards for doing the right thing & apologizing for this mistake. All are welcome, let’s have a great show.”
The ceremony is set for Wednesday, Nov. 8, and will be carried by ABC.