The city of Longview, Texas, has paid $16,250 to end contract negotiations with controversial rocker Ted Nugent, who was being considered to headline a Fourth of July concert.
The decision comes after Mr. Nugent called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” which became an issue this year during a campaign swing with Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, the Longview News-Journal reported.
City spokesman Shawn Hara said the controversy was just one of several factors that led to the cancellation.
“[There were] a variety of reasons. Cost, structure, is it the right musical act for this type of event — a city-sponsored, family-oriented overall event,” Mr. Hara said. “They decided no, we don’t want to move forward, it is not the right act for this. At that point we decided to end discussions.”
Mayor Jay Dean said the city manager’s office had contacted him with concerns about contracting with Mr. Nugent.
“That didn’t really fit what we trying to put together, a family oriented program … and I confirmed with his thoughts that that probably wasn’t the right act,” he told the News-Journal. “And I still feel that it was the right decision. It just didn’t fit with what we were trying to put together.”
By breaking the verbal agreement, the city was forced to pay out half of Mr. Nugent’s guaranteed performance fee of about $32,000.
Keith Rothra, outgoing chairman of the Gregg County Republican Party, said he didn’t buy the city’s explanation that Mr. Nugent’s comments were just one of several reasons they broke off talks.
“We have paid $16,000 to Ted Nugent for political correctness,” he said.