Released from his insular world of gun shows, shed concerts, and National Rifle Association annual meetings--the last of which he was paid $40,000 by the NRA to appear at (as a board member, wouldn't he be there anyway, and couldn't he do it for free?)--Ted Nugent finds himself embroiled in controversy. According to the Houston Chronicle, "Nugent appeared onstage [at Texas Governor Rick Perry's inaugural ball] wearing a cut-off T-shirt emblazoned with the sure-to-draw-headlines Confederate flag and shouting some unflattering remarks about non-English speakers...."
For the attention-starved Nugent, bleating offensive comments is his stock in trade. On numerous issues, his views are as offensive as they are predictable.
My organization, the Violence Policy Center, has been tracking Nugent's hate-filled rhetoric for years. In 1990, for example, Nugent told the Detroit Free Press magazine that "apartheid isn't that cut and dry. All men are not created equal. The preponderance of South Africa is a different breed of man. I mean that with no disrespect. I say that with great respect. I love them because I'm one of them. They are still people of the earth, but they are different. They still put bones in their noses, they still walk around naked, they wipe their butts with their hands....These are different people. You give 'em toothpaste, they f---ing eat it...I hope they don't become civilized. They're way ahead of the game." In the same interview Nugent expounded on his racial views, "I use the word n----r a lot because I hang around with a lot of n----rs, and they use the word n----r, and I tend to use words that communicate...."
When faced with criticism over such comments, Nugent promises, "I don't mean to offend. I'm a fun guy, not a sexist or a racist." Yet in a July 1994 interview in Westworld Newspaper, Nugent called Hillary Clinton a "toxic c--t," adding, "This bitch is nothing but a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro." Nugent also offers advice for men whose wives and girlfriends discourage their hunting: "I met a couple guys in line yesterday who go, 'Write something to my girlfriend, she won't let me go hunting.' I wrote her something and I said, 'Drop dead, bitch.' What good is she, trade her in, get a Dalmatian. Who needs the wench?"
Nugent, of course, revels in the criticism that follows such statements, giving off an Ann Coulter-esque glow of satisfaction that, regardless of context, he's still relevant.