Dear Sirius XM: Stop Playing Ted Nugent

RCL's Tim Sommer argues that Sirius XM should ban Nugent over his Parkland school shooting comments.

March 6, 2018 5:00 am
Ted Nugent performs in support of the Rockin America Again! Tour at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre on August 25, 2017 in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  (Scott Legato/Getty Images)
Ted Nugent performs in support of the Rockin America Again! Tour at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre on August 25, 2017 in Sterling Heights, Michigan. (Scott Legato/Getty Images)
Getty Images

To My Friends at Sirius XM:

Ted Nugent has publicly announced that he believes that “crisis actors” were involved in the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

In response to this grotesque and inflammatory falsehood, I respectfully but firmly request that you remove the music of Mr. Nugent from all of Sirius XM’s stations. If you fail to do so in a timely matter, I will cancel my subscription to your Satellite Radio network, and urge others to do the same.

The lie told by Mr. Nugent was not merely the expression of a difference of opinion or perspective; it was a pure untruth, a weapon designed to spread cruel, baseless skepticism via intentional disinformation. It was a fiction of hate. These build walls, fuel pogroms, feed lynch mobs, and worse. All it takes to turn lies into violence is power and might. Lies + power = Auschwitz, Jim Crow, the Armenian genocides, and on and on and on. The lie is always the first step.

I say this to Ted Nugent:

Do not bring your obscene fiction into my house.

My house is rock’n’roll.

It was built by America’s disenfranchised, the hillbillies and coal miners and sharecroppers and children and grandchildren of slaves. It was the sound these people made out of the dirt of oppression and the fleece of hope. It was adopted and adapted by the outsiders, the bullied and the friendless and the hippies and the harassed and the faggots and the freaks. Rock’n’roll made the lonely less alone and armed the dispossessed with a common language and legacy.

In this house we have been free to be ourselves, free to find our tribe, free to find our identity.

I honor rock’n’roll by not bringing the Nugent into this house.

Sirius XM, I ask, respectfully, that you do the same, and eject him from your house. The filthy lies that come out of his elderly, attention-hungry gob are an insult to the men and women of color, poverty, vision, and peace who built our house.

Sirius XM, here is how you can prove that your belief in rock’n’roll and your interest in spreading its gospel of inclusion to future generations is real: Eradicate his music from your family of networks.

It is more important than ever that we let the tellers of lies know that there are repercussions for their hatred. This is because history, full of many shades of light and dark, is getting dark again; and the engine of darkness is lies.

Imagine a single eyelash. Imagine that this single eyelash has fallen on a piece of paper. Now, imagine the shadow cast by a single eyelash. Seriously, imagine it. In the great span and cyclorama of modern human history, that is how far we are from the horrific genocides and pogroms of the last century. Dachau, Treblinka, Auschwitz, and all the great death barracks of Europe were liberated only 17 years before I was born: the width of a shadow of an eyelash. Only a fool thinks these things can’t happen again, and the very first step to their reoccurrence is a lie. The next step is overlooking the lie. I won’t do that.

Sirius XM, you can take a small, simple act that publicly condemns a teller of lies.

I will fight for free speech, but I will not fight for the fictions of hate; I will fight to defend differing perspectives, even differing interpretations, but I will not fight to defend lies. Mr. Nugent has eagerly and actively promoted a fiction that denies suffering and creates suffering; denies logic and evidence; trashes compassion; fuels hatred; and promotes ignorance, the ladder to hatred. His words smell like a forgery for hatred’s agenda; his words smell like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Mr. Nugent expels from his tongue-hole the kind of tiny-mindedness that is literally the opposite of the great freedom and inclusiveness that is rock’n’roll.

I wish to make one thing explicitly clear: I am not condemning Mr. Nugent because of his support for the NRA or the GOP. That is his choice, as it is every American’s choice. I am seeking this simple boycott because he has spread a fiction of hate, a fetid pile of foul words meant to create intolerance via a lie.

You may ask why I am choosing to overlook the fact that Sirius XM also airs numerous programs featuring far-right commentators.

Firstly, I am realistic. You run a business, and obviously, these pundits of dubious compassion are bringing in money for you. True, there’s a lot of lying, hating, human garbage on Sirius XM, but I am not rolling up my sleeves and wading into that muck at this time; rather, I am asking you for something far simpler. See, I know you can actually do something about Nugent without hurting your bottom line. In fact, I suspect you will even get some good press for taking a stand on Nugent.

The other reason I’m not addressing the presence of multiple far-right fact-benders on Sirius XM is because those men and women, as awful as they are, do not come into my house.

Rock’n’roll is my house. I choose to evict Ted Nugent from my house.

So please remove his music from any and all of your stations, or I will cancel my Sirius XM subscription, and use whatever platforms may be available to me to urge others to do the same.

Kind regards,

Tim Sommer, American

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