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Thanksgiving War We Didn't See Coming: South Dakota vs. Joan Jett

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Never let it be said that the residents of South Dakota are not a proud people.

Joan Jett is set to perform atop the Mount Rushmore American Pride float at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, but a multitude of ranchers from the state are at odds with the decision given the rocker is an animal rights activist and vegetarian.

“Her agenda through PETA does not represent South Dakota,” state Sen. Larry Rhoden, who is also a rancher, told the Rapid City Journal, calling the choice “pretty odd.” Likewise, Jodie Anderson, the executive director of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, said, “We hope that future floats would support not only the tourism industry but also agriculture.”

As a result of the fallout, South Dakota’s Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen has been attempting to quell the outrage, saying that he doesn’t believe Jett’s political views will prevent her from bringing positive attention to the state.

“She holds views that I don’t, but there are a lot of people who love her as an artist,” Hagen said. “For us, it’s not about the talent on the float. It’s about having Mount Rushmore featured before three million live viewers … more than 100 million people around the world who are seeing that float.”

Nonetheless, Hagen did feel the need to qualify on Wednesday that the decision to have Jett perform was ultimately made by Macy’s after the artists suggested by state officials were unavailable.

“It’s not because of any ill will Macy’s is trying to create or anything,” he told the Associated Press. “They were just trying to do what they thought would be a great artist for us.”

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