Brad Paisley, co-host of this year’s CMA Awards, addressed the new brow-raising media guidelines for journalists planning to attend the awards show, after which the Country Music Association promptly changed its mind.
“I’m sure the CMA will do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair press guidelines. In 3…2….1…..,” tweeted Paisley on Friday, days before he’s set to take the stage alongside longtime co-host Carrie Underwood on Wednesday.
Sure enough, CMA released a new statement in the wake of criticism from the public. “CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted,” the organization said in a statement. “The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.”
As detailed in an initial email sent to journalists on Thursday, CMA’s guidelines stated, “In light of recent events, and out of respect for the artists directly or indirectly involved, please refrain from focusing your coverage of the CMA Awards Red Carpet and Backstage Media Center on the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like.”
The email continued: “It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s past due to the sensitivities at hand, that the CMA Awards be a celebration of Country Music and the artists that make this genre so great. If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort.”
However, a closing line stipulated that “everything in the Media Guidelines is subject to change.”
Paisley later praised the CMA organizers on Twitter following news that they raised the restrictions, writing: “Bravo CMA awards for doing the right thing & apologizing for this mistake. All are welcome, let’s have a great show.”
Criticism from members of the press and some celebrities were swift. Country singer Cam thanked Paisley for his response to the situation on social media. “This is embarrassing and has been taken way too far. You can encourage respect without silencing people, #CMA.”
See more reactions below.
The CMA Awards air Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.