Rocker-turned-maybe-politician Kid Rock retaliated this week after a Detroit media outlet published a “f–ked up story” saying Rock didn't deserve to open the city's new taxpayer-funded sports arena because of his racist attitudes.
Rock denied the Detroit Free Press a press pass to attend Tuesday night's opening gig at the $862 million Little Caesars Arena.
A Free Press columnist had written that Rock represented a “middle finger to Detroiters” when he was chosen to perform the opening concert. The move signaled that people of color would not be welcome in the arena, the Detroit Free Press columnist opined.
Stephen Henderson, a Free Press editorial page editor, wrote that when “divisive performer Kid Rock” was chosen to open the arena, “it sent a message to the Detroiters who made the project possible and who have yet to see the benefits promised. It's a message that's not too far off those Jim Crow-era signs warning that blacks weren't welcome.
“This is a musician who got rich off crass cultural appropriation of black music, who used to wrap his brand in the Confederate flag — a symbol inextricably linked to racism, no matter what its defenders say,” he added.
According to the Free Press, the negative article about Kid Rock was not the paper’s position but an opinion article reflecting the views of an individual writer.
But the explanation was not sufficient for Rock’s publicist, Kirt Webster, who slammed the publication after being asked for a quote, saying: “You guys wrote a f–ked up story and allowed it to be published. You want a quote, there it is.”
“To be published without doing any fact-checking on what Kid Rock has done for the city of Detroit? We don't condone bad behavior. We won't reward bad behavior,” he added.
Early Monday, the artist vented on social media and attacked his critics, claiming he will focus his philanthropic work on charities that defended him.
“They are trying to use the old confederate flag BS, etc., to stir the pot, when we all know none of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office,” he wrote, asking his fans to “pay no attention to the garbage the extreme left is trying to create.” (Rock had previously flirted with the idea of running for a U.S. Senate seat from Michigan.)
He added: “I am however very disappointed that none of the people, businesses or charities I have so diligently supported in Detroit have had anything to say about all these unfounded attacks from these handful of jackasses and the Detroit Free Press.
“So for the unforeseen future I will focus my philanthropy efforts on other organizations besides the ones I have supported in the past.”
As for the show, the Free Press described Tuesday's event as a "rowdy, defiant initiation," and noted in a separate story that about 200 protesters demonstrated outside the venue.