On Feb. 3, Morgan Wallen was suspended indefinitely by his record label after he was caught on video using a racial slur. The same day, iHeartMedia, the largest radio chain in the nation, and Cumulus Media, the second biggest radio chain in the U.S., pulled Wallen's music. CMT quickly followed suit, with a message stating, "we are in the process of removing his appearance from all our platforms...We do not tolerate or condone words and actions that are in direct opposition to our core values that celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion."
But Wallen's fall from grace and decrease in radio airplay didn't impact his record sales. His sophomore record Dangerous: The Double Album just spent its fourth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200, with album sales up 15 percent from the week before, according to Billboard's tracking system, MRC Data. The album also had 160 million streams, which was up from 154 million.
The New York Times reports that Billboard's tracking period runs from Friday to Thursday, meaning by the time the TMZ video of Wallen using a racial slur surfaced, the tracking period was nearly over.
While many Wallen fans are purchasing his songs and albums on iTunes, other country fans have taken part in an online push to drive Mickey Guyton's 2020 EP Bridges up the iTunes chart. (Guyton is the first solo Black woman to be nominated for a Grammy award in a country category.)
TMZ reports that one of Wallen's neighbors began recording Wallen and a group of friends after they arrived at Wallen's Nashville home around midnight. Another neighbor's doorbell camera captured the scene before Wallen used the racial slur.
On Feb. 2, Wallen issued an apology in a statement to TMZ.
"I'm embarrassed and sorry," Wallen said in a statement. "I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better."
Dangerous is the first country album to spend its first four weeks at No. 1 since Shania Twain's 2003 album Up.