Just one day after being elected, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stepped down from the Country Music Association Foundation board following complaints from its members over his views.
A news release announcing Huckabee’s election to the board was distributed Wednesday, and met with fierce protest from the music community.
“Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country,” music manager Jason Owen wrote in a letter to the CMA. “Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice.”
Owen continued his letter with the threat of withdrawing his and his clients’ support from the foundation.
“I will not participate in any organization that elevates people like this to positions that amplify their sick voices,” said Owen, who represents the likes of Faith Hill, Kacey Musgraves, and Little Big Town.
The Associated Press also published emailed comments from artist manager Whitney Pastorek, who represents Kristian Bush of Sugarland. Pastorek said Huckabee’s presence on the board would have done more harm than good.
“I am proud to be a CMA member and even prouder to see our industry stand up and say that hatred has no place in country music, or anywhere else for that matter,” Pastorek said.
Another Nashville manager told Variety: “Basically, every gay man in town is furious.”
In his resignation letter, Huckabee said he was bowing out in hopes of ending the “unnecessary distraction” from the mission of the CMAF, and expressed his surprise at some of the reactions his appointment had sparked.
“If the industry doesn’t want people of faith or who hold conservative and tradition political views to buy tickets and music, they should be forthcoming and say it,” Huckabee said in the letter. ” Surely neither the artists or the business people of the industry want that.”
Huckabee also expressed in the letter his hopes that the music industry would “become more tolerant and inclusive.”
The former governor tweeted a link to his resignation letter on Thursday with the message, “Got home from 28 hour trip from Taipei that lasted longer than my time on CMA Foundation board. Read my FULL letter of resignation and see that ‘Hate Wins’ and bullies care (more) about themselves than kids needing music.”