On Morgan Wallen Getting Booted From “Saturday Night Live”

Earlier this week, Morgan Wallen and his antics last weekend surrounding the University of Alabama football game Saturday (10-3) was all everybody was talking about in mainstream country, though nobody was writing about it. Dozens of TikTok videos of the 27-year-old’s maskless partying with college-aged girls emerged, and specifically of Wallen sucking face with half a dozen of them.

Even though the videos were being circulated widely and feverishly discussed on social media, it didn’t make it into proper media anywhere, as it probably shouldn’t have. Even the tabloids avoided it as a story, because it wasn’t one, and it still really isn’t. Yes, Morgan Wallen sired a child who was born back in July, but the status of the mother is baby mama, not wife. So there was no infidelity involved, and nothing he did was illegal. It was just a country bumpkin with some hit songs living the rock star life. It was imbecilic, yet typical behavior between consenting young adults.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t disconcerting. Lo and behold, a guy who launched his career collaborating with Florida Georgia Line, and whose producer is Joey Moi who helped make FGL and Nickelback famous is a total douche canoe. The Tennessee native isn’t even an Alabama fan. You normally see him dudded out in Knoxville Orange. Wallen just crossed state lines as a vector of disease because that’s where the party was, and he’s already burned out his welcome on Lower Broadway in Nashville, where he was arrested getting bounced out of Kid Rock’s bar of all places. Yeah, that wasn’t a particularly good look either.

But imagine if country music’s most notorious partiers and philanderers like Hank Williams were around during the time of social media, and what kind of debauchery would have been chronicled? What we already know about these country legends and have the mug shots to prove is notorious enough. In fact we celebrate and glorify these men for their antics and indiscretions. The difference here though is this isn’t ol’ Hank traveling down the “Lost Highway” of broken-heartedness and addiction. This is a dude with a mullet and mostly bad pop country songs making an ass of himself. Nonetheless, as ol’ Hank once notoriously sang about in his time, “Mind Your Own Business.”

Sure, the lack of a mask is troubling. And even though the COVID-19 Public Shame Committee can overreact at times—and destroying people’s lives for minor offenses and never showing forgiveness while professing compassion and open-mindedness has become the new world sport—it’s still not a good look for a guy of Morgan Wallen’s status to be setting such bad examples, and on multiple points.

And now it’s cost Morgan Wallen his opportunity to make his debut on Saturday Night Live this week, which cited COVID-19 protocol in the cancellation. It’s probably a smart move on their part. There are many more worthy people who deserve that honor anyway. Get Tyler Childers, or Jason Isbell, Ashley McBryde, or Miranda Lambert. They’re due the opportunity, and will take it more seriously. Yes, Morgan Wallen is one of the hottest things in country music at the moment, right up there with Luke Combs. But aside from turning in a worthy rendition of Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up,” the guy just doesn’t have a whole lot.

Morgan Wallen’s Wednesday afternoon apology seemed sincere, backwards baseball cap and all. “I think I have some growing up to do. You know, I think I’ve lost myself a little bit,” he says. “I’ve tried to find joy in the wrong places, and, I don’t know, it’s left me with less joy. So I’m going to go try to work on that. I’m gonna take a step back from the spotlight for a little while and go work on myself.”

But you also recall the moment of the birth of his out-of-wedlock child in mid July when Morgan Wallen professed, “I’m a changed man. I’ll be the Dad you deserve as well as the co-parent your mother deserves. Since you were born, I know that every decision I make will be with you in mind. I promise I’ll always protect you, and do my best to be an example of a good, godly man just like my daddy was for me.”

That was less than three months ago. Guys who can convince six different women eight years younger than them to suck face on the same night tend to have a curios superpower to talk their way out of anything. It’s one of the things that makes them so attractive.

But all of this doesn’t feel like it just has to do with Morgan Wallen. It has to do with the environment today’s country artists are asked to navigate.

Far be it from me to stick up for Morgan Wallen, and the maskless cavorting is not defensible in this environment, no question. But when overactive Twitter handles obsessed with canceling artists and destroying their careers over any perceived slight becomes commonplace, and tied specifically to severe ideologies obsessed with weeding out those who refuse to comply with their demands, it becomes troublesome on a grander scale. Morgan Wallen’s Saturday night in Tuscaloosa was not a story. Saving Country Music, and a dozen other outlets concluded this for days until social media fury became too hot to handle.

That doesn’t mean Morgan Wallen didn’t deserve to get booted from SNL, which he arguably didn’t deserve to be appearing on in the first place. But the Uptight Brigade that used to be obsessed with censoring song lyrics and finding Satanism everywhere in society has now shape shifted, and they’re still just as uncool. Morgan Wallen was a buffoon. But slap him on the wrist, give him a COVID test, and move on. He’s not the boogeyman. He’s just a hillbilly with a hit record.

….And good gosh ladies, if you see a guy like this, whatever you do, no matter how famous he is, or your relative level of sobriety, for the love of God, and for the whole of society, don’t screw them.

@ashleighludlam

what is life . ##morganwallen ##bama ##fyp @morganwallen

♬ This Bar – Morgan Wallen
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