Country music star Jason Aldean has never shied away from sharing his political beliefs. The five-time Grammy Award-nominated singer is public about his conservative beliefs, stating in a 2021 interview that, “At some point, it’s gotten to where, if you’re a conservative and you’re in this business, you’re not allowed to speak. It’s hard to go lay my head down at night with a clear conscience, feeling like I’m a coward for not saying the things that I want to say, or I feel like need to be said.”
In September 2022, Aldean and his wife, Brittany, were the targets of a cancellation attempt—culminating in Aldean being dropped by his public relations firm—after speaking out against “gender affirming care” for kids.
Less than a year later, Aldean is once again at the center of a scandal—this time, for a new song, “Try That In A Small Town.”
The song—which has pro-law enforcement themes and showcases real footage of left-wing riots and protests—has been accused of racism and promoting violence. After activist backlash against the song and the accompanying video swarmed online, Country Music Television (CMT) confirmed they pulled the music video.
Fans immediately responded with outrage, accusing the network of censorship. One user commented on the ironic cancellation of Aldean, pointing out that other musical artists are allowed to promote their content despite having explicit themes.
“CMT is censoring Jason Aldean’s new music video ‘Try that In A Small Town,’ Twitter user @DC_Draino posted. “Most mainstream artists promote drugs, gangs, violence, and sleeping around. Jason says ‘hey let’s not rob old ladies and burn down cities’ and CMT bans his video. Screw @CMT.”
Legal Scholar Jonathan Turley argued that the network’s decision to pull the video was an infringement on “artistic expression and free speech.”
While the decision to remove Aldean’s music video from their airwaves will likely result in financial loss for CMT, the resulting attention and outrage around CMT’s action are driving the country music fanbase to listen to the song in droves. The song debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is No. 1 on the country charts. The music video—despite no longer being in circulation at CMT—has 17 million views on YouTube.
The American people have spoken: keep trying to cancel Jason Aldean, and they’ll just listen to his music even more.