Music | March 23, 2021 8:00 am

Ted Nugent Is Not a Racist, Says Ted Nugent

He took to Facebook Live to address the matter

Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent and dog "Paco" in his 1966 Ford Bronco, with publicist Laura Kaufman looking on, at his farm in Jackson, Michigan June 1978.
Getty Images

Among the things that Ted Nugent likes are guitars, bowhunting, firing guns and conservative politics. Among the things he doesn’t like? Being called a racist, apparently. A new article at SPIN follows Nugent’s reaction to an unnamed sponsor dropping out of his Outdoor Channel show Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild over concerns related to racism.

Nugent addressed the issue on a Facebook Live video, where he brought up his fondness for, and interactions with, various Black musicians. This included Nugent’s recollection of a show his band Lourds played opening for the Supremes. During their sound check, a member of the Funk Brothers — described by Nugent as “the biggest, baddest, Blackest Funk Brother of all” — walked over and used the n-word to compliment Nugent’s guitar work.

“It was the biggest compliment in the world,” Nugent said. Later in the video, he also argued that his choice of musical heroes demonstrates his lack of bigotry. “[T]he people who are actually honest and pay attention know that I have paid homage and reverence to the Black heroes of music all my life, which means I’m the anti-racist,” he added. “So if you find somebody who calls Ted Nugent a racist, you are looking at a subhuman piece of sh*t who lives a lie.” Yes, that’s clearly a way to win hearts and minds.

Admittedly, Nugent does count the decidedly anti-racist Tom Morello among his friends. But he also has a long history of some, shall we say, problematic decisions when it comes to matters of race — including wearing a Confederate flag onstage (which he’s said he will no longer do) and describing Barack Obama as a “subhuman mongrel” in 2014 (which he’s since apologized for).

While Nugent’s appreciation for his musical heroes certainly seems sincere, that doesn’t give him a pass for a number of other comments and gestures he’s made over the years — nor should it.