Though he earned six nominations, country singer-songwriter Morgan Wallen won't appear on the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, which are set to air live on May 23 on NBC. In a statement released on Thursday (April 29), Dick Clark Productions announced that Wallen will not be invited to perform or present or accept any awards due to his "recent conduct," referring to a Jan. 31 incident in which Wallen used the n-word outside his Nashville home. The slur was caught on camera and posted on TMZ on Feb. 2.
"Morgan Wallen is a finalist this year based on charting. As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting)," the statement reads. "It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work. We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows."
Following the incident, Wallen was suspended from his record label Big Loud Records.
Wallen later released a video apology, asking fans not to defend him.
"Our actions matter, our words matter. And I just want to encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistakes," Wallen said. "There's no reason to downplay what I did. It matters. And please know I'm carefully choosing my next step to repair."
On April 13, Wallen posted a handwritten note on social media announcing that he won't tour this summer. (Wallen was scheduled to open Luke Bryan's Proud to Be Right Here tour this summer.)
"I've found this time away to be very valuable to me in many ways, but I feel like I need a little more of it and therefore will not be performing tour dates this summer," Wallen wrote. "It means I won't be playing festivals or the Luke Bryan tour dates. But it's important to me personally, if you can, go to these shows -- support country music. Country music is back and that's a beautiful damn thing."
More recently, Wallen shared a photo of himself fishing with Eric Church.
Billboards supporting Wallen recently popped up around Nashville.
The billboards, which call Wallen "His fans choice [for] Entertainer of the Year" and call to "Support that boy from East Tennessee," appeared the week of the 2021 ACM Awards. In February, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) stated that Wallen was ineligible for awards this year.
"The Academy does not condone or support intolerance or behavior that doesn't align with our commitment and dedication to diversity and dedication," the statement read.
Taste of Country and The Boot report that the billboards are operated by Lamar Advertising. The company was unable to provide information as to who ordered the signs. The six billboards are located along Broadway and West End Avenue.
Country Now reports that the billboards were paid for by a group of Wallen's fans.
Wallen released an apology following the video's release.
"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."
The video was posted to TMZ on Feb. 2. 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.
Wallen's music was quickly removed from Cumulus Media, the second biggest radio chain in the U.S. A message was sent out to program directors of its 400-plus stations.
"Team, unfortunately country music star Morgan Wallen was captured on video Sunday evening using a racial slur," the message read. "Effective immediately we request that all of Morgan Wallen's music be removed from our playlists without exception. More to follow."
iHeartMedia, the largest radio chain in the nation, also pulled Wallen's music from its airwaves.
CMT also removed Wallen from its platforms.
"After learning of Morgan Wallen's racial slur late last night, we are in the process of removing his appearance from all our platforms," CMT said in a statement. "We do not tolerate or condone words and actions that are in direct opposition to our core values that celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion."
After learning of Morgan Wallen’s racial slur late last night, we are in the process of removing his appearances 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 & inclusion.
— CMT (@CMT) February 3, 2021
Following the controversy, Wallen's sophomore album Dangerous: The Double Album spent multiple weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Last year, Wallen was arrested on public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges outside Kid Rock's downtown Nashville bar. The singer was the subject of controversy once again when his Saturday Night Live performance was canceled after he was seen partying maskless and kissing multiple women in Alabama bars just days before his scheduled performance. (Wallen later appeared on the show in December.)
This is an update to an article previously published on Feb. 3. It was updated on April 29, 2021.