12:52 p.m. UPDATE:
The Country Music Association has lifted its controversial ban on interview topics for this year’s CMA Awards show amid criticism from dang near everybody who heard the news, according to USA TODAY.
"CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted,” the organization wrote in a news release Friday. “The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music."
The interview guidelines, which restricted press members from asking artists about the Las Vegas shooting or gun control or gun rights or “topics of the like,” were widely derided on Twitter, including by the awards show co-host Brad Paisley, who tweeted that the restrictions were “ridiculous and unfair.”
More country stars are coming out against the CMA’s decision to ban questions about Las Vegas or gun issues at this year’s CMA awards, including show co-host Brad Paisley. This will be updated throughout the day.
Thurs., Nov. 2 story:
Any journalist covering the 51st Annual Country Music Association Awards ceremony Nov. 8 in Nashville who focuses on “the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like” in their coverage of the event will have their press credentials “reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort,” according to a report from Nashville Scene.
The event, which highlights the biggest names in the country music industry, comes less than two months after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Nev.
The full statement from the CMA, as per The Nashville Scene, reads as follows:
“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. It’s an evening to honor the outstanding achievements in Country Music of the previous year and we want everyone to feel comfortable talking to press about this exciting time. If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort. We appreciate your cooperation in advance. If you have any concerns on your coverage plans, please reach out to the CMA Communications team in advance so we can be a great partner as we celebrate ‘The 51st Annual CMA Awards.’”
Brad Paisley, who is co-hosting the event this year with Carrie Underwood, had this to say about the shadow of the shooting looming over the awards show when he was interviewed by the Nashville Scene last week:
"We're not going to ignore it, but we're not going to also dwell on that. We have to make sure we honor those we've lost, but we also [have to] celebrate this music, which lives on, and do a good job having the heart we need to have on that night."
Despite the CMA’s insistence to not talk about the issue, several stars have spoken up about guns and their place in the country music genre. Josh Abbott Band guitarist Caleb Keeter flipped his position on the Second Amendment following the attack, and Maren Morris (who is nominated at this year’s CMAs) released a song with subject matter related to the shooting.
At least one country music singer shared their disdain for the decision Thursday:
The 51st annual CMAs will be held Nov. 8 in the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.