Morgan Wallen’s record label announced Wednesday morning that it has “suspended Wallen’s record contract indefinitely” following a video that surfaced showing the fast-rising country singer using a racial slur.
“In the wake of recent events, Big Loud Records has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen’s recording contract indefinitely,” the label said. “Republic Records fully supports Big Loud’s decision and agrees such behavior will not be tolerated.”
Big Loud entered a strategic partnership with Republic Records, the Universal Music Group subsidiary and home to major stars including Taylor Swift, Drake, Post Malone, and the Weeknd, last year. It remains unclear what specifically an indefinite suspension to Wallen’s contract actually means. Reps for Big Loud and Republic did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
— Big Loud (@BigLoud) February 3, 2021
The video, which appeared on TMZ, shows Wallen using the “n-word.” Soon after, according to a report in Variety, Cumulus Media, one of the biggest radio chains in the country, directed its more than 400 stations to remove Wallen’s songs from rotation. “Team, unfortunately country music star Morgan Wallen was captured on video Sunday evening using a racial slur. Effective immediately we request that all of Morgan Wallen’s music be removed from our playlists without exception. More to follow,” the message read. It was signed by Brian Philips, EVP of programming, and John Dimick, Cumulus’s head of programming operations.
iHeartMedia, the country’s largest radio chain with 800-plus stations, followed suit. A spokesperson for iHeart told Rolling Stone, “In light of Morgan Wallen’s recent actions involving the use of a racial slur, we have made the decision to remove his music and content from our stations effective immediately.” iHeartMedia owns more than 800 stations. Entercom, which owns more than 200 stations, also pulled Wallen’s music from rotation. Streaming services Spotify and Apple Music removed Wallen’s songs from their country playlists as well, and cable network CMT says it’s “in the process of removing his appearances from all our platforms.”
It’s not yet clear if the various bans are permanent.
“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,” Wallen said in a statement Tuesday night. “I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”
This isn’t Wallen’s first controversy. Toward the end of 2020, Saturday Night Live revoked its invitation for Wallen to perform on the show after videos surfaced of Wallen partying in Alabama in violation of the series’ Covid safety protocols. (He made up his SNL debut in December.)
Before facing the latest backlash, Wallen had been enjoying one of the biggest successes of 2021. His latest project, Dangerous: The Double Album, has topped Rolling Stone’s 200 chart for the past three weeks.