On May 23, country artist Morgan Wallen was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct after he was removed from Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse, according to WKRN. According to police, Wallen was kicked out of the Honky Tonk for “kicking glass items,” the Tennessean reported. Once out on the street, Wallen then got into verbal arguments with passersby, according to police. Wallen was arrested after police asked the musician several times to walk away, but Wallen refused, according to reports.
The 27-year-old was released on a $500 bail shortly after his arrest and took to social media to apologize for his behavior on Sunday.
Thank you to the local authorities for being so professional and doing their job with class. Love y’all
— morgan wallen (@MorganWallen) May 24, 2020
The tweet was followed up with a thank you to local police for “being so professional and doing their job with class.” Wallen is scheduled to face misdemeanor charges in July, according to the Tennessean.
Wallen Became a Break-Out Country Star Following His Run on The Voice in 2014
Wallen made his start in the music industry with an appearance on The Voice in 2014. Though he was eliminated before the playoff rounds, the national exposure did the trick and in 2016, the Tennessee native signed with Big Loud Records when he was just 23 years old.
Since then, Wallen has found stratospheric levels of success in the country music world for a handful of songs off of his debut album, If I Know Me, and high profile appearances on tracks by Florida Georgia Line and Diplo. His track “Whiskey Glasses” topped Billboard’s Hot Country List in 2019, and he racked up nominations for best new talent from the Country Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music in 2019.
Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk Was at the Center of Coronavirus Controversy in Tennessee in March
On March 15, Steve Smith, the owner of several establishments throughout Nashville, issued a statement refusing to close Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk, calling Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s efforts “unconstitutional” and “extreme.”
#UPDATE: Steve Smith, the owner of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s, Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Steakhouse & The Diner, responds to @JohnCooper4Nash’s call for Broadway bars to close amid #COVID19 concerns. @WKRN pic.twitter.com/wpYpy6d19N
— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWKRN) March 15, 2020
In response to a Billboard article covering the decision, Smith reversed course and announced that Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk would close per Cooper’s orders. Additional establishments under Smith’s control would continue to operate at limited capacity in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
In March, Nashville Mayor John Cooper took swift action to close businesses and implement social distancing guidelines. The reaction from Governor Bill Lee was not so swift. While Lee urged schools and businesses to close and individuals to restrict their movement in the second half of March, cell phone data revealed that Lee’s recommendations had done little to curb movement, according to the Tennessean. It wasn’t until April 2 that the governor made these guidelines mandatory. Lee’s order expired on April 30.
In 2019, Nashville attracted an estimated 15.9 million visitors in a new record for the city. Visitor spending in Nashville brought in $7 billion that same year, outpacing Memphis ($3.6 billion), Gatlinburg ($2.5 billion), Knoxville ($1.2 billion), and Chattanooga ($1.2 billion), according to Visit Music City. The industry was on an eight-year growth streak in Tennessee before the coronavirus severely stunted tourism around the country. Tennessee reports 20,145 cases and 336 deaths.