Chesney Doppelgänger To Get Compensated
Nate Blankenship, who arrived at LP Field June 23 wearing Chesney’s signature straw hat, shell necklace and sleeveless T-shirt, wound up taking pictures with people in the stands. Four hours after he arrived, during Tim McGraw’s set and prior to Chesney’s, he was escorted out by security, ostensibly because he was “purposefully trying to impersonate a celebrity,” he said.
But Blankenship claims he did no such thing.
“Is it because I wear a hat?” he asked WKRN-TV. “I see a million of these hats here. I’ve worn baseball caps before and people still want to have pictures made [with me], but it’s never caused a problem. I can’t believe they think I’m actually him. Why would Mr. Chesney be in the crowd when Tim McGraw is singing?
“I think the way they handled it made it seem worse, like they were really escorting Kenny Chesney through the crowd.”
His $200 ticket also left the building, but he said he was more upset when the security guard told him, “This is coming straight from the top.”
A statement from Chesney’s peeps said neither the promoter nor management was aware of the situation and fans should never “leave disappointed” and that the situation would be corrected, which it was – at least financially. Blankenship has been made whole, with $200 refunded.
WKRN did make one interesting statement on its broadcast (which did not appear on its website) – that LP Field officials told the station Chesney had recognized Blankenship from other shows and found him to be a distraction.
Blankenship, a Bellevue, Tenn., schoolteacher, said his situation was unintentional.
“Here or there somebody asked to take a picture to make their friends or family think they were with Kenny or whatever, that’s fine,” Blankenship told WKRN. “I don’t mind. I can’t help with the way I look.”
After hearing of officials’ mea culpa, Blankenship issued the following statement:
“I would like to thank my family, friends and the many well wishers who have supported me in the past 24 hours, which has probably been the most hectic day of my life.
“I heard from Sony Music and the concert promoters, and they have told they will be refunding the money I paid for my ticket to the concert. In addition, Sony has said they will be sending me several CDs, which I appreciate. I would like to clear up one possible misconception. I am not now, nor have I ever been a Kenny Chesney impersonator and contrary to several reports, I do not sign autographs, pretend to be him for financial gain, or follow him around from concert to concert.”