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Country Star Morgan Wallen Suspended By Label, Dropped By Radio, CMT After Using Slur

Morgan Wallen performs in November at the CMA Awards, where he won the New Artist of the Year award.
Terry Wyatt
Getty Images for CMA
Morgan Wallen performs in November at the CMA Awards, where he won the New Artist of the Year award.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

Rising country star Morgan Wallen has been suspended by his record label, Big Loud. The label posted the news on its social media platforms Wednesday afternoon, saying, "In the wake of recent events, Big Loud Records has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen's recording contract indefinitely."

This decision comes after TMZ posted a video Tuesday night of Wallen using the N-word with a group of his friends.

NPR has confirmed that Wallen has been pulled from iHeartMedia's radio playlists. The biggest radio group in the U.S. says this will affect about 135 stations where Wallen's music would be heard. Variety reported Tuesday night that Cumulus Media sent a similar edict to its 400 stations. Wednesday afternoon, the satellite radio provider SiriusXM and streaming service Pandora also dropped Wallen's music, a company representative confirmed.

CMT announced that it is removing Wallen's appearances from all of its platforms. In a tweet, the country music channel wrote, "We do not tolerate or condone words and actions that are in direct opposition to our core values that celebrate diversity, equity & inclusion."

Wallen's second album, Dangerous: The Double Album, has been a huge hit since it debuted on Jan. 8. The album has topped the Billboard 200 chart for three consecutive weeks. According to Billboard, the last country album to do that was Taylor Swift's Red in 2013.

This isn't Wallen's first brush with controversy. Last October, he was disinvited from playing Saturday Night Live after he was videotaped partying and breaking COVID-19 safety protocols before his appearance. He eventually appeared on the show in December, poking fun at the incident in a sketch.

NPR has reached out to Wallen's press representatives for a statement. Wallen did issue an apology after TMZ posted the video, saying, "I'm embarrassed and sorry. 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."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.