After 15 seasons and 123 episodes of voicing an ornery redneck squid as part of the Adult Swim animated Series Squidbillies on Cartoon Network, voice actor, guitar player, and comedic country musician Stuart D. Baker—also known as Unknown Hinson—is out. The voice behind Early Cuyler—who was the main character of the show—made multiple insensitive comments toward Dolly Parton and minorities on August 13th in connection to Black Lives Matter.
“We are aware of the extremely offensive and derogatory social media posts made late last week by Stuart D. Baker,” said show creators Jim Fortier and Dave Willis in a statement. “The views he expressed do not reflect our own personal values of the show that we and many others have worked hard to produce over the past 15 years. For those reasons, production of ‘Squidbillies’ will continue without Mr. Baker, effective immediately.”
After an August 13th Billboard cover story characterized Dolly Parton as backing the Black Lives Matter movement—and later many other outlets ran with the story including Consequences of Sound—Stuart Baker reacted on his personal Facebook page to the news with multiple incendiary comments.
“So, now this freak tittied, old Southern bimbo is a BLM lover? Remember, slut, Rednecks made you a Millionaire!” Baker said. He then added later after negative reactions, “Yeah leave. Leave Liberals! Unfriend me, please. Because I don’t want you UN-AMERICANS around! Have fun becoming an Eloi or something without a thought of your own where you bow down to the ALL-KNOWING-MINORITY! HAVE FUN forsaking your own race, culture, and heritage. Have a nice time!”
The posts were later removed, and eventually Stuart Baker deleted his Facebook account, but not before screenshots were taken and spread across the internet, with some pointing out other insensitive comments Baker has been making on his personal account recently. Many began demanding that Baker be removed from the Squidbillies show, and some called for the show’s cancellation entirely.
Along with playing Early Cuyler on the Squidbillies, Stuart Baker also previously performed under the persona Unknown Hinson, who called himself the “Kang of Country & Western Troubadours,” and professed to be a 300-year-old vampire. The persona was first created for the Charlotte, North Carolina public-access program The Wild Wild South that featured comedy sketches with co-star Don Swan. After Swan died in 1995, Baker created The Unknown Hinson Show for cable access. He also released multiple albums under the Unknown Hinson name, and was signed to Capitol Records Nashville in the early 2000’s.
A guitar teacher originally from Albemarle, North Carolina, Baker also played and toured in Billy Bob Thorton’s band The Boxmasters and others. He briefly retired the Unknown Hinson character in 2012 saying it was too expensive to tour, but then revitalized it in 2013 and began touring again. Then on June 3rd 3rd, 2020 he announced his retirement once more, saying, “My dear friends, Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be playing anymore shows. My hands are absolutely shot with Osteoarthritis. I love you all and I am grateful to you for supporting me for 50 plus years. God bless you.”
Reverend Guitars, which had a signature guitar model from Unknown Hinson, dropped the model and removed him from their website after his Dolly Parton comments were made public.
As some have pointed out, both Stuart Baker’s Early Cuyler and Unknown Hinson characters include being a reactionary, closed-minded redneck as part of their comedic persona, making some wonder if Baker was just being sarcastic in his comments. Baker has said in past interviews that his Unknown Hinson character is an amalgam of old rednecks he known during his upbringing. The Early Cuyler character was an extension of Unknown Hinson, meaning Unknown Hinson was regularly credited for the character instead of Stuart Baker. However since the comments were made on Stuart Baker’s personal page and he stood by them, they are not believed to have been made “in character.”
The Squidbillies show has long had strong ties to alt-country music, with Billy Joe Shaver singing the theme song, and artists like Elizabeth Cook, Jason Isbell, the Drive-By Truckers, Rhett Miller of the Old 97’s, Gillian Welch, Todd Snider, and many others making voice appearances. “I’m very sad about every bit of this,” Elizabeth Cook reacted to the news. “I hope someday cancel culture and hate culture give way to one compassion culture. ‘Fighting for peace is like screaming for quiet’ – Todd Snider.”
As Saving Country Music has pointed out, despite widespread reporting that Dolly Parton came out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement specifically, this was the result of a mischaracterization from Billboard, and the editing of Dolly Parton’s statement where she said, “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No! Everybody matters.”
Billboard edited the “Everybody matters” portion out of her statement, which can be confirmed through video of the interview. Billboard also stated that Dolly was, “… unequivocal in her support of protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement,” even though no such statement or stance by Dolly Parton was made on the Black Lives Matter movement itself. Parton simply stated that she believed that “Black lives matter” as a standalone statement. This mischaracterization sparked scores of subsequent articles on Dolly Parton supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, including the Consequences of Sound article Stuart Baker reacted to.