Nashville Council Bashes Morgan Wallen as They Deny Him a Neon Sign

Astrida Valigorsky/WireImage via Getty Images
Astrida Valigorsky/WireImage via Getty Images

Local officials have given the boot to a proposal to erect a huge neon sign over Morgan Wallen’s new bar at Nashville’s famed Honky Tonk Highway, criticizing the country music star for instances of misbehavior and past use of a racial slur.

The Tuesday vote by the Nashville Metro Council saw 33 members vote against Wallen’s 20-foot sign, which advertises “Morgan Wallen’s This Bar,” according to The Tennessean. Just three members voted in favor of the plan.

The full name of Wallen’s new space is This Bar and Tennessee Kitchen, the title of a 2019 song of his. The six-story facility, which actually features six different bars, bills itself as an “homage to his love of all things Tennessee and the fans that have embraced him and his music,” according to its website.

It is set to open over Memorial Day weekend.

The opposed members did not mince words when it came to justifying their decision. “Mr. Wallen is a fellow East Tennessean. He gives all of us a bad name,” District 14 Council member Jordan Huffman said, The Tennessean reported. “His comments are hateful; his actions are harmful.”

Huffman was referencing a series of headline-making incidents that have landed Wallen in hot water in recent years, including in 2021, when he was suspended indefinitely from his label after a video emerged of him shouting a racial slur. The “Whiskey Glasses” singer later admitted it had been a mistake.

“I was around some of my friends, and we say dumb stuff together,” Wallen told Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan. “In our minds, it’s playful. That’s sounds ignorant but that’s really where it came from. And it’s wrong.”

Morgan Wallen’s Ex: His Arrest Had Nothing to Do With Me

Last month, Wallen was arrested after police said he pitched a chair off the rooftop of Chief’s, another six-story bar in downtown Nashville that lies less than 600 feet away from This Bar. The chair just missed a pair of Nashville police officers standing outside the building, according to Wallen’s arrest affidavit.

Wallen, who faces three felony counts of reckless endangerment and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, has since said he is “not proud” of his behavior. An initial hearing in his criminal case has been postponed until Aug. 15.

“I don’t want to see a billboard up with the name of a person who’s throwing chairs off of balconies and who is saying racial slurs,” said Delishia Porterfield, an at-large council member.

Councilmember Jacob Kupin, who presented the proposal and was one of the three members who voted in its favor, noted that Wallen had “made efforts to apologize and to make amends.”

“The fact that someone’s name is going up on a bar doesn’t mean that we condone all the behavior, but again I appreciate the efforts to make amends, the positive response, and again, the operator themselves I don’t think should be penalized for what happened,” Kupin said, according to the Associated Press.

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