CMA Lifts Award Show Press Restrictions On Guns, Politics After Outcry (UPDATE)

The initial guidelines warned that reporters asking about "gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like” could get the boot.
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood appear onstage at the 2016 CMA Awards.
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood appear onstage at the 2016 CMA Awards.

UPDATE: 1:03 p.m. — The Country Music Association released a statement Friday lifting its previous reporter restrictions. 

“CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted,” the statement read. “The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.”


A list of guidelines released by the Country Music Association for the upcoming CMA Awards urges reporters to stay away from certain topics, like guns and politics, or face getting kicked out. 

By accepting a media credential, reporters agree to “refrain from focusing [coverage on] ... gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like” to make attendees “feel comfortable” at the CMA Awards, taking place Nov. 8 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

The rule was set following the Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last month during a Jason Aldean performance, which left almost 60 people dead and hundreds injured, according to the media guidelines release.

In light of recent events, and out of respect for the artists directly or indirectly involved, please refrain from focusing your coverage of the CMA Awards Red Carpet and Backstage Media Center on the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like. It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s past due to the sensitivities at hand, that the CMA Awards be a celebration of Country Music and the artists that make this genre so great. It’s an evening to honor the outstanding achievements in Country Music of the previous year and we want everyone to feel comfortable talking to press about this exciting time. If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort. We appreciate your cooperation in advance. If you have any concerns on your coverage plans, please reach out to the CMA Communications team in advance so we can be a great partner as we celebrate “The 51st Annual CMA Awards.” 

Currently, the press list includes journalists from major outlets, including ABC, NBC, The Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and USA Today. 

Rolling Stone spoke with Brad Paisley, who is once again set to host this year’s awards show alongside Carrie Underwood, about taking the stage after the Las Vegas massacre and how to properly handle it. 

“We’re not going to ignore it, but we’re not going to also dwell on that,” he said. “We have to make sure we honor those we’ve lost, but we also [have to] celebrate this music, which lives on, and do a good job having the heart we need to have on that night. And also the theme of the show this year is very much about unity and coming together as a format.”

On Friday, Paisely tweeted his disapproval of the guidelines. 

A rep for the Country Music Association did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.



CMA Awards 2016