U.S. broadcaster CMT this week pulled a controversial video by country music singer Jason Aldean for his song Try That In a Small Town.
Billboard reported that the video for the song was released Friday and aired over the weekend before it was pulled by CMT on Monday.
Written by Kelly Lovelace, Neil Thrasher, Tully Kennedy and Kurt Michael Allison, the song begins: “Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk / Carjack an old lady at a red light / Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store / Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like / Cuss out a cop, spit in his face / Stomp on the flag and light it up / Yeah, ya think you’re tough / Well, try that in a small town.”
“See how far ya make it down the road / Around here, we take care of our own / You cross that line, it won’t take long / For you to find out, I recommend you don’t / Try that in a small town.”
Critics say the song promotes violence.
“Jason Aldean, who was onstage during the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert in 2017 that killed 60 people and wounded over 400 more — has recorded a song called Try That In A Small Town about how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns,” tweeted Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, a group that works to address gun culture in the U.S.
.@Jason_Aldean – who was on-stage during the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert in 2017 that killed 60 people and wounded over 400 more – has recorded a song called “Try That In A Small Town” about how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns. pic.twitter.com/hWGdEgS33v
The video for the song includes clips of protesters confronting police and scenes of the U.S. flag being burned. It also includes scenes shot in front of a courthouse in Colombia, Tenn., that was the site of a lynching of a Black man in the 1920s, according to a report by Variety.
On social media, Aldean defended the song.
“I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” he wrote in post to his Instagram Stories.
“There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it — and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage — and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music — this one goes too far.”
Country star Sheryl Crow spoke out about the song, saying she was from a small town.
“Even people in small towns are sick of violence. There’s nothing small-town or American about promoting violence,” she tweeted. “You should know that better than anyone having survived a mass shooting. This is not American or small town-like. It’s just lame.”
The single is taken from Aldean’s upcoming album.
The CMT channel in Canada is owned jointly by Corus Entertainment and Paramount Networks Americas. It has shifted away from country music videos and focuses on comedies and movies, according to its website.
The flagship CMT channel in the U.S. is a subsidiary of MTV, which is owned by Paramount.