Country Music Association (CMA) Awards host Brad Paisley is calling on organizers to rescind “ridiculous” guidelines that prohibited journalists from asking entertainers about politics and guns.
The “Heaven South" singer — who's co-hosting the show along with Carrie Underwood — wrote to his more than 4 million followers on Twitter on Friday:
I'm sure the CMA will do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair press guidelines. In 3...2....1.....— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) November 3, 2017
Paisley’s tweet comes on the heels of a memo that was sent to press Thursday ahead of next week’s 51st annual CMA Awards and threatened to boot journalists who didn’t comply with a request to avoid political questions.
The guidelines to journalists, first reported by Nashville Scene, stated: “In light of recent events, and out of respect for the artists directly or indirectly involved, please refrain from focusing your coverage of the CMA Awards Red Carpet and Backstage Media Center on the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like.”
“It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s past due to the sensitivities at hand, that the CMA Awards be a celebration of Country Music and the artists that make this genre so great,” the memo continued.
“If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort.”
Some of the biggest names in country music — including Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Garth Brooks — are poised to perform at Wednesday's awards show in Nashville airing on ABC.
While publicists, particularly ones who represent performers, will often request reporters’ questions be focused on the event that’s taking place, it’s considered highly unusual to oust a journalist for not complying.
Last month, nearly 60 people were killed at a country music festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire, marking the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Country music star Jason Aldean was performing onstage when the shooting began.