The Coeur d'Alene Tribe had a concert scheduled at their casino in Idaho on August 4. The planned performer was Ted Nugent. "Was" being the operative term, because the tribe cancelled the concert, for reasons it said were the performer's "racist and hate-filled remarks." The tribe also made clear that it had booked Mr. Nugent without knowing his "racist attitudes and views."
Ted Nugent, you will recall, is the guy who has been investigated by the FBI for making statements against the president which were seen as potentially threatening, and who once called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel," before sort of apologizing for it in his own way. And who likes to get attention by saying things on stage as racist and hate-infested as one could imagine, provided one chose to have a racist and hate-infested imagination.
If the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, though, could only make one employment change, I'm not sure it should have been to cancel Ted Nugent. After all, it's anyone's right to listen to a performer despite his or her racist and hate-filled remarks. No, I think a better choice might have been to fire the person who books acts for the casino.
I mean, seriously, how could someone whose job it is to book entertainment for their stage overlook the news headlines Ted Nugent has made for the past two years?? I'm not saying everyone should know. I'm not even saying that an entertainment booker should inherently know every controversial performer. But -- if your actual job is to book talent, and you have decided to consider hiring Ted Nugent for a show, how in the world could you possibly miss the controversy surrounding Ted Nugent? Most especially because venues go out of their way to avoid controversy at all costs. Most have morals clauses in contracts. They want to know. They want to protect themselves. Casinos today are catering to families. They really want to avoid controversy. How hard is it to find out about Ted Nugent?
This isn't hyperbole. I mean, literally, how hard is it to find out?
And so I did a test.
To test my question, went to Google and typed in "Ted Nugent controversy." I think that's a reasonable and incredibly easy search term if I was booking talent and wanted to find out if there was anything controversial about an artist.
The first result was about the Coeur d'Alene Tribe cancelling Ted Nugent, so we can discount that. The second entry was his Wikipedia page, which is basic for just about everyone in the world, so we can skip past that. And here is what came next on the result page --
As I said, if I was in charge of hiring at the C'oeur d'Alene Casino, I might consider at the very least re-assigning my booker.
In fairness, Tribe officials all might have known from the very first, and simply didn't mind signing a hate-filled racist to entertain their fellow Indians and the general public. Only after word got out what they'd done, and they all got slammed and had outraged phone calls did they then concoct the flim-flam that "We had no idea that Ted Nugent was controversial."
Of course, if that's the case then they might be too stupid to be Tribe officials, and members might want to re-consider who's representing them.
I have no idea which of these scenarios is correct. I can make a fair case for either. I'm only sorry that Ted Nugent won't be performing. It would have been nice to see what he would have come up with surrounded by Indians.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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