Morgan Wallen Is Not Invited to BBMAs Due to 'Recent Conduct'

Morgan Wallen will not be part of the 2021 Billboard Music Awards. Despite the 26-year-old singer’s six nominations in five categories, dick clark productions said on Thursday that Wallen will not perform, present or accept any awards at the May 23 ceremony.

The news comes after Wallen was caught on camera using a racial slur. He has since apologized. Wallen’s  Dangerous: The Double Album, which was released in January 2021, spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and 10 weeks atop the all-genre Billboard 200.

“Unique among awards shows, Billboard Music Awards (BBMA) finalists are determined by performance on the Billboard Charts, and are not chosen by a voting committee or membership organization,” dick clark productions said in a statement. “BBMA finalists and winners are based on key fan interactions with music (including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, social engagement), tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data.With our content reaching millions of viewers, dcp and MRC have the privilege and responsibility to effect change by creating a more inclusive dialogue in our productions and across the industry.”

“Morgan Wallen is a finalist this year based on charting,” the statement continued, referencing Wallen’s nominations in the Top Song Sales Artist, Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist, Top Country Album and Top Country Song categories. “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).”

While Wallen won’t be included in this year’s festivities, dick clark productions noted that it will reevaluate the situation in the future.

“It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work,” the statement read. “We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.”

The country singer was caught on camera using the N-word and other inappropriate language in February. 

“I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back,” Wallen said in a statement to ET at the time. “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.”

After video of the incident was made public, Wallen was suspended indefinitely from his label, Big Loud Records, and dropped from WME, according to multiple reports. Radio stations, including those owned by iHeartMedia,  Entercom and Cumulus Media, removed Wallen’s music from their playlists.

SiriusXM and Pandora also removed Wallen’s content from their platforms, as did CMT and the Country Music Association. Additionally, the Country Music Awards said they would be removing Wallen’s eligibility from their upcoming awards cycle.

Fellow country singers including Mickey Guyton, Maren Morris, Jason Isbell and more spoke out against Wallen’s actions on social media.

Wallen further apologized in a video posted to Instagram, telling his followers, “The video you saw of me was me on hour 72 of 72 of a bender and that’s not something I’m proud of.”

“I’ve got many more things to learn but I already know that I don’t want to add to any division,” he said in part. “Our actions matter, our words matter, and I just want to encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistakes. There is no reason to downplay what I did. It matters.”

Earlier this month, Wallen said that he won’t be playing any shows this summer in a handwritten note posted to Instagram. 

“I’m back in Nashville getting back in the swing of things and you guys can rest assured that I am looking forward to giving you guys what you deserve, especially after all you’ve done for me,” he wrote in part. “My story is far from over and getting back out to see y’all is all I can think about. So just know you’ll be seeing me sooner than later.”

Wallen’s use of the racial slur followed other controversies; he was arrested last May for public intoxication and was pulled from Saturday Night Live in October after violating the show’s COVID-19 protocols by partying in a bar. He apologized for both incidents, and was later rebooked on SNL.

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