Country music star Morgan Wallen won several major awards at the Billboard Music Awards ceremony Sunday despite being banned from the event and purged from multiple music platforms.
Wallen was dropped by his talent agency and his music was removed from platforms such as SiriusXM and Pandora after a video of an intoxicated Wallen calling a friend a “p****-a** n*****” appeared online in February. Wallen has since apologized for using the slur, which happened “on hour 72 of a bender” late at night in Nashville.
Wallen was banned at appearing at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards over the incident. He was not barred from being nominated for major awards, however, since nominations are tied to his position on Billboard charts as well as his music sales and streams on online platforms.
On Sunday, Wallen was nominated in six categories and took home awards for Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist, and Top Country Album for “Dangerous: The Double Album,” according to E! News.
Dick Clark Productions released a statement in April saying that while Wallen was banned from the 2021 Billboard awards show, the production company would consider lifting the ban for future shows.
“Morgan Wallen is a finalist this year based on charting,” the company said, according to E! News. “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). It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work. We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.”
Over the weekend, the Academy of Country Music restricted Wallen from taking home any awards in individual categories such as male vocalist of the year over the viral video. Wallen will still be eligible to receive awards in other categories so as to give credit to his collaborators.
Wallen issued a lengthy apology after he was filmed, reportedly by a neighbor, calling a similarly drunk friend a “p****-a** n*****” after a night of heavy drinking. As The Daily Wire reported:
“The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a bender, and that’s not something I’m proud of either,” a solemn Wallen says in the video, posted to social media and sent to TMZ. “Obviously, the natural thing to do is to apologize further and continue to apologize because you got caught, and that’s not what I wanted to do.”
“I let so many people down who mean a lot to me, who have given so much to me, it’s just not fair,” he said. “I let my parents down and they’re the furthest thing from the person in that video. I let my son down and I’m not OK with that.”
The 27-year-old said he was offered the opportunity to have “some very real and honest conversations” with leaders of various black organizations, according to Fox News.
“This week I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me,” he explained. “And I know what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to some of the trials I about from them. I came away from those discussions with a deep appreciation for them and a clearer understanding of the weight of my words.”
“Our actions matter,” Wallen said. “Our words matter and I just want to encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistake. There’s no reason to downplay what I did. It matters and please know I’m carefully choosing my next steps in repair.”