Luke Bryan Responds As Fans Boycott His Music And ‘Idol’

Luke Bryan


Luke Bryan auditioning for American Idol

Country star and “American Idol” judge Luke Bryan was caught in a firestorm of controversy over the weekend when he welcomed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis onstage during a concert in Jacksonville on Oct. 28, 2022. Some were thrilled to see Bryan with DeSantis, and others were so upset that they called for a boycott of his music and Idol. The noise surrounding the governor’s appearance has grown so loud that Bryan has now responded.

Florida Governor arrives with Luke Bryan to announce Hurricane Ian donation

DeSantis, who is in the final days of his re-election, took the stage at the start of Bryan’s Jacksonville concert to help the singer announce his plans to take a “large chunk” of the proceeds from his upcoming Estero concert , Florida, to donate to Florida Disaster Fund, the state’s private fund responding to natural disasters. The money will help communities including Estero affected by Hurricane Ian in September. Ian destroyed countless homes and businesses and noisy the washington post, killed at least 89 people.

“We’re going to have some fun and we’re going to raise some money for the great state of Florida tonight,” he told concertgoers before DeSantis took to the stage and threw campaign hats at the screaming crowd while Bryan smiled. Viewer Bonnie Upright tweeted her latest video, which was widely shared, writing, “It’s deafening in here.”

Bryan had to postpone his Florida concerts when Ian moved closer to the state, but Estero was hit so hard that for a while it wasn’t clear if the Hertz Arena would be ready to hold his postponed concert there on November 2nd.

“Because of the hurricane, they had to use the venue where I was performing as a shelter,” he told the crowd Friday as he stood next to DeSantis. “Well, we went back and forth, we didn’t know if it was too early to play or not, but the Estero area said, ‘Go to Estero.’ So let’s do a concert.”

Social media videos show the crowd roaring in approval before Bryan continues.

“So we’re going to give a big portion of the proceeds in Estero, Fla. to everyone who bought the tickets, kept the tickets, and spent the money. I am donating this money to the great state of Florida.”

DeSantis added, “The state of Florida had to deal with the great hurricane last month and it’s not easy to deal with, it hurt a lot of people. Although I can tell you this, show me any other state that can rebuild bridges in three days. I don’t think you can find that.”

Following the announcement, Bryan said he had a gift for the governor and jokingly presented him with a red Georgia Bulldogs jersey to show his own allegiance to Georgia in light of the annual college football matchup between the University of Florida and the University of Florida Georgia. The two laughed, high-fived and Bryan put his hand on the governor’s shoulder.

News of Bryan’s surprise guest quickly spread on Twitter. While DeSantis supporters were thrilled with the performance, there was significant backlash from fans who weren’t. Many pointed to the governor’s most controversial actions, such as signing a directive in early 2022 that LGBTQ+ advocates gave the nickname “Don’t say gay” bill.preventing subjects such as sexual orientation and gender identity from being taught in schools to the country’s youngest students.

A tweet received nearly 40,000 likes from someone who said he’s been a lifelong fan of Bryan. He wrote: “As a gay man, it really hurts to see him bring out – and effectively campaign for – the governor who introduced the Don’t Say Gay Act. Heartbreaking.”

Many people tweeted that they plan to stop listening to Bryan’s music, and some said they won’t be watching “American Idol” again while he’s a judge. The hashtag #boycottlukebryan has also started to gain a foothold on the platform.

One person’s tweet, which received nearly 3,000 likes, said: “hey @American Idol Did you know you had a singing judge, Luke Bryan, supporting a racist and homophobe on your show? If you keep him on the show, you’ll lose my viewership. Disgusting!”

Another wrote: “Luke Bryan so disappointed you brought Ron Desantis on stage at your concert. So many LGBTQ+ kids see you as a role model for AI. He is NOT exactly that.”

The mounting backlash has now prompted Bryan to respond.

Bryan issued a statement on Twitter calling DeSantis a “very polarizing figure.”

ABC/YouTubeAmerican Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan

Bryan remained mum in the controversy until noon on Sunday, October 30, when the backlash became so loud that he decided to issue a formal statement on Twitter.

“Governor Desantis is a very polarizing figure,” he wrote in the statement, which was released in white type on a black background. “But I grew up in a country where if a governor asks you to come and raise awareness to help victims of a natural disaster, you help.”

“I’ve generally stayed out of politics throughout my career,” Bryan continued. “I knew people would chatter about it, but for me the more important part was whether I’ll go back there a few weeks after a natural disaster affected a large proportion of people in a state where people have been good to me were that felt right. Raise awareness, have a little fun between the GA and FL college fans and do what I love on stage.

Bryan concluded his statement by writing, “That’s all I have to say on that. I will be outside with my boys. enjoy your sunday Love you all #GoDawgs.” He also included the text number — 20222 — to support the fundraiser.

However, the statement did little to quiet the noise. Some people supporting DeSantis retweeted Bryan’s message and celebrated that he didn’t back down.

“Thanks for not apologizing to the woke mafia,” one wrote. “Side note, it’s okay to express your support for the greatest governor in the history of the United States.”

Others, however, have expressed frustration with Bryan for “giving in” to social media pressure and making a statement at all.

One wrote, “DeSantis is only ‘polarizing’ because he’s not a Democrat. You shouldn’t even have answered that.”

Those who got upset about the performance said Bryan’s testimony didn’t heal the damage they said had already been done.

“Sorry, but that’s not good enough,” one person replied. “You can get attention (and money) with your own name. With Desantis on stage you get the impression (true or not) that you are supporting him. In this day and age, we must all be ready to speak out against lies, hate and injustice.”

Another fan said it would be better if Bryan just revealed his true feelings.

“You can’t lean over the fence on important issues. Especially when our democracy is at stake,” she wrote. “Man, Luke. Admit that you either made a mistake in putting him on stage, or you support his intentions. Like it or not, you have a voice that people will listen to.” Luke Bryan Responds As Fans Boycott His Music And ‘Idol’

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