Country Music Television (CMT) confirmed it has pulled Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” music video from circulation, following a wave of backlash from the public suggesting it was a “pro-lynching song.”
A rep for the network did not share the context for the decision, while Aldean denied the “pro-lynching” narrative. The video shows Aldean singing while news coverage of the 2020 riots shows his message that “cuss out a cop, spit in his face, stomp on the flag and light it up.”
Despite the criticism, the singer’s success hasn’t been deterred; it is currently the No. 1 song on iTunes. Aldean’s record label, BBR Music Group and the director of the video, TackleBox, have yet to comment.
The video was filmed outside of Nashville, which prompted some to suggest his location choice was explicitly pointed. In response, TackleBox issued a statement saying the location was “a popular filming location” for movies and music videos that many have visited in the past.
Aldean then took to his social media page to address the allegations in detail. He detailed the “dangerous” accusations he was facing, and reminded his followers of his direct connection to mass violence, as he was performing during the horrific Las Vegas shooting in 2017.
“There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it – and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage,” he said.
He further clarified that the song was about “the feeling of a community that I had growing up where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences.”
Aldean was defended by his wife Brittany, who fired a shot at the media for the “twisted narrative.” On Instagram, she shared a photo of the two on the beach with the caption, “Never apologize for speaking the truth.”
It remains unclear why exactly CMT chose to pull the video, and the network has not provided further details. It is possible that the extreme public backlash forced CMT’s hand due to the contentious song and its lyrics.