Mutliple billboards supporting exiled country star Morgan Wallen have appeared in Nashville. The digital screens feature a message calling Wallen “His fan’s choice for Entertainer of the Year,” and they come less than a week before this year’s 56th annual ACM Awards.
Splashing the ads on six high-traffic areas around the city, the billboards appeared on Monday (April 12), and were first reported by the site, Music Mayhem. The site also published an interaction with an anonymous fan claiming responsibility, and although their claims have not been officially confirmed, the fan says the messages are a crowd-sourced response to the Academy of Country Music’s decision to disqualify Wallen from awards consideration — a move made after video of Wallen using a racial slur appeared online in February.
A group of fans banded together to raise funding for the billboards through a “Movement for Morgan” campaign, they explained, aiming to express their disagreement with the repercussions Wallen has faced since the controversy.
“This idea was really our way of trying to ‘right the wrong’ of cancel culture,” the fan wrote. “We just wanted to ‘Wallen-Paper’ Nashville during the week of the ACMs to show our support for Morgan! … We LOVE him and his music and we wanted to do the right thing! He is an incredibly talented young man and doesn’t deserve what he’s going through right now!”
Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album had just come out when the drunken video surfaced — and it was already ruling the all-genre sales charts. It remained at Number One on the Billboard 200 for a history making 10 weeks — the most ever for a country album — even after Morgan Wallen was effectively blacklisted by the music community. But radio stations around the nation and all streaming platforms removed his music, while his booking agent dropping him and his record label placed him on indefinite suspension, among other penalties.
Wallen apologized for the incident, chalking it up to a three-day “bender” and promising to seek help, and he has remained silent ever since. But the billboards now feature references to the Bible verse Mark 11:25, which calls for forgiveness of those whom you hold something against, and messages like “Support that boy from East Tennessee.”
Wallen’s representatives have not addressed the billboards, and the fan claiming responsibility says so much money was raised that they plan to install a permanent billboard in Wallen’s hometown of Sneedville, Tennessee. They also said the Nashville ads will run through April 19, the day after the ACM Awards.