The Coeur d’Alene Casino dumped rock musician Ted Nugent from its summer schedule Monday, saying his “racist attitudes and views” have no place there.
“We know what it’s like to be the target of hateful messages and we would never want perpetuate hate in any way,” said Chief Allan, chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.
Nugent was scheduled to perform Aug. 4 at the tribe’s casino-hotel south of Coeur d’Alene. Complaints about the booking grew Monday after the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog called attention to the appearance, labeling it a “PR disaster.”
“The decision is stirring controversy for a tribe that has proudly involved itself in human rights causes and contributed thousands of dollars to fight racism,” wrote Hatewatch blogger Bill Morlin, a former reporter for The Spokesman-Review.
Nugent sometimes wears an Indian headdress on stage and mocks those campaigning to change sports team names such as Redskins and Savages, Morlin wrote. The blog also referenced offensive remarks Nugent has made about President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Heather Keen, a spokeswoman for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, said in a statement that the casino operates autonomously and that the Tribal Council had not been aware Nugent was scheduled to perform there.
“We adamantly do not want our casino to be used as a venue for the racist attitudes and views that Ted Nugent espouses,” Laura Stensgar, executive director of marketing for the Coeur d’Alene Casino, said in a statement Monday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, when we booked him, we were looking at him from an entertainment perspective, as an ’80s rock ’n’ roller who we thought folks might enjoy,” Stensgar added. “We take the comments and concerns of our community very seriously and we apologize to anyone who was offended by the idea that we would promote these kinds of attitudes. We will do our best to avoid such mistakes moving forward.”
In his statement, Allan said, “The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has always been about human rights – for decades, we have worked individually and as a Tribe to make sure that each and every person is treated equally and with respect and dignity.”
The casino will refund full ticket prices for the show. Call (800) 523-2464 to arrange a refund.