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Originally published Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 12:05 AM

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Puyallup Tribe cancels Nugent shows, citing racist remarks

The Puyallup tribe cancels Ted Nugent’s August 2 and 3 shows at Emerald Queen Casino, citing the rocker’s racism.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Both the Puyallup Tribe and Ted Nugent say there appears to be an organized effort to get the rocker’s shows canceled — and it’s working.

The tribe-owned Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma canceled two of Nugent’s shows, scheduled for August 2 and 3, because of what they deemed racist remarks in the past, just days after the Coeur d’Alene Casino in Idaho pulled Nugent from their calendar for similar reasons.

“Our tribal council was concerned about the racial remarks that Mr. Nugent had made recently and decided that they didn’t want their venue used to promote his racism,” said John Weymer, spokesman for the Puyallup Tribe that operates the casino.

The tribe’s concern is not new: In May, the tribal council told the casino not to book Nugent for any 2015 performances, though at that point the August shows had been booked.

“We’re a reservation, we grew up with racism on a daily basis,” said Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud. “How can we allow that to go on in our casino?”

Nugent has been performing at the Emerald Queen for nine years, but with calls and emails pouring in over the last few weeks demanding that the casino drop the outspoken rocker from their calendar, the Emerald Queen decided to do so.

“We’ve had complaints in the past about Ted Nugent, but not to this extent,” Weymer said. “I believe it’s an organized group that does not want to tolerate Ted’s racist remarks. We’ve gotten some death threats.”

The Emerald Queen is obligated to fulfill its contract with Nugent and pay for both shows, and all ticket holders will be reimbursed.

“We apologize to Ted Nugent fans,” Weymer said. “We seriously debated if we should cancel it.”

Nugent, the rock musician who released his first album in the late ’70s and is known for his staunch support of the Second Amendment, called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” earlier this year in an interview with Guns.com. He later apologized in an interview with radio host Ben Ferguson, “not necessarily to the president — but on behalf of much better men than myself.”

Though his music-management company declined to comment, Nugent himself has responded to the series of cancellations in a Radio.com interview, where he blamed “an army assigned to destroy Ted Nugent” because “to call me a racist is a clear act of desperation.”

He explained that his song “Great White Buffalo,” in which he sings about how “the Indian and the buffalo/ They exist hand in hand ... but then came the white man .../He wanted all the buffalo dead,” proves that he is not racist toward Native Americans.

“I’m having the greatest tour of my life, and I’m going to have — I promise you — the greatest hunting season of my life,” he added. “So I have created the abject fear in the left of how effective I am. I think I’m really great — but I didn’t know I was this great! That my haters have dozens, if not hundreds, of people dedicated to calling all my sponsors and all my concert promoters saying, ‘Nugent’s a racist!’ They’re literally, maniacally scrambling to destroy me.’ ”

Katharine Schwab: kschwab@seattletimes.com On Twitter @kschwabable



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