Almost 24 hours from his appointment as a board member of the Country Music Association Foundation, Mike Huckabee has announced his resignation after an outcry from the Nashville music industry.
“I genuinely regret that some in the industry were so outraged by my appointment that they bullied the CMA and the Foundation with economic threats and vowed to withhold support for the programs for students if I remained,” the former Arkansas governor’s letter of resignation read. “I’m somewhat flattered to be of such consequence when all I thought I was doing was voluntarily serving on a non-profit board without pay in order to (continue) my decades of advocacy for the arts and especially music.”
The CMA confirmed the resignation stating, “The CMA Foundation has accepted former Governor Mike Huckabee’s resignation from its Board of Directors, effective immediately.”
Jason Owen, who is openly gay and head of Monument Records and Sandbox Management, which represents names like Little Big Town, Faith Hill and Kacey Musgraves, was one of the opponents to Huckabee’s appointment to the board.
Owen sent a letter to CEO Sarah Trahern and CMA Foundation executive Tiffany Kerns to protest Huckabee’s involvement based on his anti-gay and pro-gun views.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know moving forward, Sandbox and Monument will no longer support the CMA Foundation in any way (this includes everyone we represent collectively) considering the heartbreaking news shared today regarding Mike Huckabee appointee/elected to the CMA Foundation,” Owen, who is married, writes. “Further, we find it hard to support the organization as a whole as a result.”
“I have a child and two on the way. This man has made it clear that my family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant,” Owen added. “Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice.”
Human Rights Campaign released a statement noting Huckabee’s anti-gay views and supporting the outcry for his resignation.
“Mike Huckabee has staked his entire political career on undermining the rights of LGBTQ people and our families. His cynical political attacks and discriminatory views do not represent the diversity of country music, and we thank all of the musicians, industry leaders and fans who spoke out against his appointment to this important role,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
Huckabee has compared gay marriage to incest and called homosexuality a sin. He is a supporter of the National Rifle Association and is strongly pro-gun rights. He is also a passionate advocate for the arts. The CMA Foundation’s philanthropy efforts support music programs in schools.