Seriously, what the hell is Nelly still doing on this Florida Georgia Line tour? And what the hell was he doing on a “country” music tour in the first place? I know, I know, nothing about Florida Georgia Line’s music resembles true country music. We’ve already logged those protestations many times before, and specifically wondered aloud why the hell Nelly was asked to tour with Florida Georgia Line previously. But now that he’s been accused of rape, how about we let a little bit of common sense prevail and pink slip this guy from any future country music involvement, at least until the truth emerges?
Tonight, Thursday, October 12th, 2017, Florida Georgia Line’s fleet of buses and semis will be set up in the parking lot of the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Florida, and Nelly, who less than a week ago was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his bus as it idled in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Washington State, will be taking the stage with them. And that’s apparently okay with with the people in charge.
Look, I know we live in a country where it is innocent until proven guilty. Nelly is a free man at the moment, and no official charges have been brought against him. But we also live in a society where sexual assault accusations from young women need to be taken seriously. Nelly has a right to due process, but so does the alleged victim. I’m not asking for Nelly to be locked up until we know what happened, but how about exercising a little bit of prudence until this matter is cleared up, and not allow him to take the stage at what is supposed to be a family friendly country music concert?
Shockingly, Nelly is flatly denying the accusations, while his lawyer bullies and shames the accuser, claiming she’s just digging for gold in such aggressive language that the accuser’s lawyer, Karen Koehler, says Nelly broke the law. “It is morally reprehensible for an accused person and his bully lawyer to issue derogatory and defamatory statements against a young alleged rape victim,” Koehler says. “It is also criminal — in the state of Washington — when those vicious attacks are issued in the form of threats.”
Nelly’s lawyer Scott Rosenbaum had said in an earlier statement, “Our initial investigation clearly establishes this allegation is devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness. I am confident, once this scurrilous accusation is thoroughly investigated, there will be no charges. Nelly is prepared to address and pursue all legal avenues to redress any damage caused by this clearly false allegation.”
More details have also been revealed about what exactly the 21-year-old alleged victim is accusing. According to TMZ, she met Nelly in a club, and was driven to Nelly’s bus by part of his entourage. Back at the bus, she claims Nelly tried to have sex with her, and she declined. Nelly told her to “shut up,” and said he wanted to have sex with her without using a condom, which he eventually did, the alleged victim claims. Nelly then offered her hush money before she was kicked off the bus by another woman, and given $100.
The problem with prosecuting many of these rape cases is it boils down to a he said, she said. The act was not premeditated by Nelly, and that’s why the charges being sought against him are 2nd degree rape, and not 1st degree. The victim also arrived at Nelly’s bus willfully, even according to the victim’s lawyer.
Maybe Nelly is being taken to the cleaners by a gold-digging accuser. Maybe Nelly did rape her. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between. But this is country music, and we have enough problems with how women are treated and characterized in the genre before helping to promote an accused rapist on a major tour. Find someone to replace Nelly, maybe someone who actually plays country music; maybe a female performer since Lord knows there’s plenty of them out there not being given these big touring opportunities while a washed up rapper like Nelly is.
Florida Georgia Line’s “Smooth” tour is almost over anyway. Nelly is a millionaire (“Millionaire” is actually the name of his current single), and this will not cause him any grave financial hardship. And if it does cause him financial loss and he’s found to be innocent, he can seek repercussions through the legal system against the accuser. That’s what the legal process is there for.
But in the meantime, with the news of Harvey Weinstein and other sexual predators in positions of power being dragged out into the light, how about country music exert a little leadership here and let it be known this type of behavior won’t be tolerated. In 2017, we’ve seen bands like PWR BTTM and Zex have their careers completely eviscerated due to sexual assault accusations where there wasn’t even an open and active investigation involved. But somehow Nelly gets a pass? After listening to the lyrical content of Nelly and Florida Georgia Line songs, are we really surprised this situation has transpired?
The words are bad enough. But when it boils over into accused actions, that’s where the industry should draw a line, at least until the truth is determined.