Texas City Pays To End Negotiations With Nugent

An East Texas city paid $16,250 to end contract negotiations with controversial rocker Ted Nugent, who was under consideration as the headliner for Longview’s Fourth of July celebration.

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Rams Head Live!, Baltimore, Md.

Longview’s payoff last month came after Nugent’s earlier comments and song lyrics became an issue during a campaign swing with Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott.

In January, Nugent called President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” The comments resurfaced when Nugent campaigned in February with Abbott, who said he did not endorse such language.

City spokesman Shawn Hara told the Longview News-Journal that the controversy surrounding Nugent was just one factor that led the city to call off negotiations. The amount paid was about half Nugent’s performance fee.

“(There were) a variety of reasons. Cost, structure, is it the right musical act for this type of event — a city-sponsored, family-oriented overall event,” Hara said. “They decided no, we don’t want to move forward, it is not the right act for this. At that point we decided to end discussions.”

Mayor Jay Dean said Nugent’s act didn’t fit with the family-oriented program the city wanted.

Keith Rothra, outgoing chairman of the Gregg County Republican Party, said he didn’t buy the city’s explanation that Nugent’s comments were just one of several reasons they broke off talks.

“We have paid $16,000 to Ted Nugent for political correctness,” he said.

Abbott did not back away from inviting Nugent to campaign, but said he believed Nugent had recognized his language was wrong. His Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis, called his decision to campaign with Nugent “repulsive.”

Nugent apologized after Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky disavowed the remark about Obama. Perry had Nugent perform at his inauguration in 2007.

Nugent has also made comments in the past suggesting that immigrants in the country illegally should be treated like “indentured servants” until they earn citizenship.