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The Associated Press widely disseminated an article that claimed Jason Aldean's hit music video for "Try That in a Small Town" was filmed at a lynching site despite the same courthouse setting being a popular filming location for movie productions.
"Jason Aldean's new music video was filmed at a lynching site" was the headline various outlets ran with, which dominated several pages of Google search results. The comment was so widely cited that it necessitated a comment from the artist himself.
"There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far," he added.
AP's newly appointed music writer cited that aside from the music video, the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, was, more importantly, the site of controversial racial events nearly 100 years prior.
As the music video's production company correctly pointed out in a statement, the site is a ”popular filming location outside of Nashville."
The Columbia courthouse is indeed frequently used for video productions, such as Mario Lopez's movie "Steppin' into the Holiday." Even Miley Cyrus' "Hannah Montana: The Movie" was filmed at the famous location, which featured prominently in the film several times.
"Any alternative narrative suggesting the music video’s location decision is false," production company Tacklebox told Fox News.
The controversy has caused the opposite effect critics may have intended, however, as Aldean's single shot to number one on iTunes charts while also topping the platform's video rankings and showing up on YouTube's trending music videos page.
Despite speculation, CMT did not offer an explanation when asked why it removed the video. Billboard reported that Aldean's video was released on Friday, July 14, 2023, and was in CMT's rotation through Sunday, but the outlet noted that CMT declined to comment on why it stopped playing the video by Monday.
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