LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas city had to pay thousands to a controversial performer, before he even planned on performing at a July Fourth concert.
The City of Longview is preparing to hold its second annual Fourth of July Festival. Planning for the festival includes musical acts performing at the Maude Cobb Convention Center. Event organizers reached out to several artists in hopes of booking them to perform, including rocker Ted Nugent.
City staff had hired a promoter who was in talks with a booker for the controversial rocker. Amid the controversy surrounding Nugent's appearance with Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, organizers decided to cancel the singer's appearance.
Abbott's Tyler stop in February came just days after a joint appearance with Ted Nugent. In the face of controversy, Abbott said inviting Nugent to campaign with him was nothing more than a way to stand firm on second amendment rights. Earlier the same month, the controversial singer called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel," drawing criticism from prominent Republicans, including Governor Rick Perry and Senator Ted Cruz.
When asked about payment to the rocker in order to cancel, Longview Public Information Officer Shawn Hara said Nugent was, "not the right feel for this kind of community event."
Gregg County Republican Party Chair Keith Rothra said he disagrees with the city's actions regarding Nugent saying it was "very expensive political correctness."
"I'm sad the City of Longview has done this. I think it was done by a great deal of political correctness, political pressure," Rothra said. "We have various performers who have made all kinds of statements that rattled people's conscience and yet they are still slated as performers."
Hara says the $16,000 payout to Nugent will not impact the city's ability to pay for the festival, but it does effect Maude Cobb's budget.
A spokesperson for Nugent told KLTV Friday that the Longview event was never on the singer's calendar and that he did not know anything about it. Organizers are still searching for the headliner that will take the Maude Cobb stage on July Fourth.