Derogatory racial remarks from Ted Nugent have cost him a gig at the Muskegon Summer Celebration, according to The Associated Press.
Festival officials canceled Nugent's concert following an interview last week with two Denver disc jockeys in which the DJs say he used slurs for Asians and blacks. The festival was scrambling to find a replacement.
"If we can [replace Nugent] with something in the classic rock genre, that'd be great, but right now we want to get the best possible acts we can find," Summer Celebration President Joe Austin told The Muskegon Chronicle for a story Friday.
Following discussions with community leaders, Summer Celebration's board decided "it was in the best interest of the community" to drop Nugent from the festival lineup, Austin said. The festival runs in late June and early July.
Festival Chairman Tim Achterhoff said: "Any use of potentially offensive racial terms, such as those attributed recently to Ted Nugent, do not reflect the spirit of Muskegon or the Summer Celebration." Summer Celebration bills itself a "family venue festival."
Austin added, "Muskegon is a diverse community — that's the strength of our community."
Reached by phone Thursday evening, Nugent's assistant, Linda Peterson, said Nugent was out of town, and said she "didn't have details on the situation" and couldn't comment.
Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax, morning talk-show hosts on radio station KRFX-FM, stopped the live interview with Nugent on May 5 after they said he used several racial slurs.
The interview focused on guitars until Nugent used the word "Jap," to which Lewis and Floorwax immediately protested, The Associated Press reported. Nugent then used another Asian slur and the DJs called him on that.
Nugent next used the "n word" when talking about comedian Richard Pryor's humor and said that, years ago, one of THE FUNK BROTHERS used the term to compliment Nugent's guitar playing.
In a written statement, Nugent blamed much of the controversy surrounding the radio station interview on reports by "liberal hippies in the media." "People hate me because I'm so damn effective at getting across my pro-gun, pro-hunting and pro-American statements," Nugent explained. "They are helpless to take me on intellectually, one on one, so they extract convenient edited phrases out of context and put their own negative, hateful left spin on them."
Lois Williams, president of the Muskegon Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said canceling the concert "was in the best interest of this community."
"Muskegon Summer Celebration, for the past 10 years, has built a solid reputation as a family affair — and we don't need the likes of Ted Nugent coming to Muskegon, and we certainly don't need it at Summer Celebration," Williams said.
Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington said he thought the cancellation of the concert "was the right decision."
"This event has grown and evolved into a great event over 11 years," Warmington said, "and I just thought it didn't make any sense to bring in an act that would be controversial and that could perhaps take 11 years of great work and great celebration and have it marred."
Austin said Summer Celebration has not lost money on the canceled concert because "we were at a point where money had not exchanged hands." He said he knows of no lawsuit filed against the festival "yet."