The Emerald Queen Casino has pulled the plug on Ted Nugent concerts scheduled for Aug. 2 and 3, citing what it calls the rock musician’s history of racist remarks as well as strong pressure from the public.
It marks the first time the casino showroom, operated by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, has canceled a show because of a performer’s negative persona, said tribal spokesman John Weymer.
The decision to cancel was made Thursday “at a great deal of expense to the casino, because we have to pay his contract,” Weymer said.
Tribal leaders had grown tired of Nugent’s outrageous conduct and were ready to cut ties with the singer and guitarist, whose success on the record charts peaked in the late 1970s.
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“About a month ago, our tribal council decided that it would not book him any further based on his racist comments,” Weymer said. “We've been getting a lot of pressure from some activist groups, a lot of phone calls, a lot of concerns.
“The tribe, which has lived with racism for decades if not several hundreds of years, was sensitive to this and decided the casino was not a proper venue for his views.”
Nugent has turned heads over the years for ultra-conservative beliefs and staunch advocacy for hunting and gun rights, which he has shared in books, talk shows and reality TV.
He’s been taken to task for controversial comments about race, and was quoted this year in a guns.com interview describing President Barack Obama as a “subhuman mongrel.”
The Emerald Queen received death threats for booking Nugent this summer, and threats that protests would be staged in front of the casino, Weymer said.
He said he realizes Nugent has passionate fans and there could be a backlash, although the spokesman said ticket sales have been lighter than previous years when the rocker came to Tacoma.
“We've been put between a rock and a hard place on this, and we apologize to anyone who had planned to go,” Weymer said.
Those who bought tickets through Ticketmaster will automatically be reimbursed through their credit cards, Weymer said. Those who bought in person at the box office will have to obtain a refund there.