Names and faces

Jason Aldean performs during the 2023 CMA Fest on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Jason Aldean performs during the 2023 CMA Fest on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Country Music Television has pulled a video for the song "Try That in a Small Town" by superstar Jason Aldean amid accusations that its lyrics and message are offensive. The video, released in May, was shot in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tenn., a site known for the 1927 mob lynching of Henry Choate, an 18-year-old Black man, and is interspersed with violent news footage, including protests. An American flag is draped between the building's central pillars, while Aldean, strumming a guitar, lists what he imagines as big-city behavior that would not be well-received in a small town: "carjack an old lady," "cuss out a cop" or "stomp on the flag." "As Tennessee lawmakers, we have an obligation to condemn Jason Aldean's heinous song calling for racist violence," Democratic state Rep. Justin Jones said on Twitter, describing it as "a shameful vision of gun extremism and vigilantism." On Tuesday, the country TV station confirmed that it had stopped airing the video Monday. Aldean defended himself on Twitter, asserting that he had been accused of "releasing a pro-lynching song" and being "not too pleased" with the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. "These references are not only meritless, but dangerous," he said. "There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it -- and there isn't a single video clip that isn't real news footage -- and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music -- this one goes too far." The song, he said, refers to the "feeling of a community" that he experienced growing up, where neighbors took care of one another, regardless of differences in background or belief.

It was more than a coincidence that three of Kevin Spacey's four accusers described similar crotch-grabbing incidents, a prosecutor said Wednesday in her closing argument at his sexual assault trial. Christine Agnew told a London jury that Spacey seized brief moments for an "opportunity grab" and was able to get away with it for years because he was a celebrity. The two-time Oscar winner long benefited from a "trinity of protection," knowing that men he attacked would not complain, she said. If they did, he knew they wouldn't be believed, and if they were believed, he knew authorities wouldn't take action because of his status, Agnew said. That began to change with the #MeToo movement, eventually leading the four men, who did not know each other, to independently complain to English police, she said. "Are they all motivated by 'money, money, money' as you were told rather dramatically by the defendant?" Agnew said. "Or have they all just had enough of the secret of the truth that they have been carrying around for many years? They're no longer prepared to be the secret keeper of someone who treated them so badly." Spacey, 63, has pleaded innocent to nine charges.

  photo  Actor Kevin Spacey, right, walks outside Southwark Crown Court, London, Monday July 17, 2023. Elton John briefly testified Monday for the defense at Kevin Spacey's sexual assault trial as the actor's lawyer attempted to discredit a man who claimed the Oscar winner aggressively grabbed his crotch while driving to the singer's summer ball. (Jordan Pettitt/PA via AP)

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