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Country music awards show reverses ban on questions about Vegas shooting

Country music awards show reverses ban on questions about Vegas shooting
November 4, 2017

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Country Music Association (CMA) on Friday reversed a ban on journalists asking questions at its annual awards show about last month’s Las Vegas mass shooting, hours after singer Brad Paisley criticized the rules as “ridiculous.”

In media guidelines issued earlier this week, the CMA asked reporters not to focus their coverage of the Nov. 8 awards show red carpet on “the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like.” It said credentials could be revoked for any media doing so.

A lone gunman shooting from a hotel window killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more when he opened fire on 20,000 fans at an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

On Friday, the CMA lifted, and apologized for, the restrictions, saying in a statement the “sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.”

“Bravo CMA awards for doing the right thing & apologizing for this mistake. All are welcome, let’s have a great show,” Paisley tweeted.

The country music star, who is co-hosting Wednesday’s show in Nashville, had earlier tweeted, “I‘m sure the CMA will do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair press guidelines. In 3...2....1......”

Singer Ryan Adams had joked on Twitter that approved topics at the ceremony might include “Wagon Wheels, Bacon, repurposed barn wood, (and) cussin’ at snakes.”

Singers Jason Aldean, Jake Owen and Chris Young were among the musicians either on stage in Las Vegas when the shooting broke out, or watching the show.

Caleb Keete, a guitarist with the Josh Abbott Band, said in October that the shooting had caused him to change his stance on gun control after being a lifelong supporter of the right to bear arms.

The CMA awards, one of the biggest celebrations of country music in the United States, will air live from Nashville on ABC television on Wednesday.