Florida Georgia Line are speaking out after accusations of their alleged disrespect toward police officers spread across social media this weekend.
On July 22, the duo performed at Wisconsin’s Country Thunder Festival. Before the show, the band asked that uniformed police officers be kept from coming inside the backstage area. It’s unclear why the duo chose to keep police out of the area, but it apparently rubbed a few officers the wrong way.
Jones County Sheriff Greg Graves told TMZ that crew members stopped him when he attempted to go backstage. He also claimed that the band said they would not perform if they saw any uniformed officers in the backstage area. Graves went on to say he felt “disrespected” by their behavior.
Later that evening, the band decided that they wanted a police escort out of the festival. Multiple officers swiftly refused that request.
“Part of it was because we’re busy, and part of it was I didn’t talk to them directly and I wished they would have reached out to me,” Graves later explained to FOX411. “They didn’t want us backstage so we just opted out of the escort. It’s not something that we’re mandated to do.”
News of Florida Georgia Line’s awkward encounter with police during the festival quickly spread through social media. Hours later, the band responded with the following statement.
“Hey guys, we’ve just been made aware something happened at a show this weekend involving a police officer,” the duo posted on their Twitter account. “We want you to know we have nothing but love and respect for the police. We are bummed anyone ever got a different impression.”
In reality, many artists have asked for police to be removed from the backstage area for various reasons. It could be a simple matter of privacy or an attempt to hide illegal activities such as drug use. Either way, it comes at a time when tensions toward the respect of police officers is at an all time high.
It’s unclear if this scuffle will leave a lasting mark on Florida Georgia Line’s image. However, it’s likely that there will be a bigger focus on their behavior in the weeks and months to follow.