A publicist for Kid Rock has responded to protesters calling for the artist to stop using the Confederate flag on stage during his live shows, saying that it's been years since Rock has done so.

"It's been more than five years since he's had that flag on tour," publicist Nick Stern tells the Detroit Free Press. "They're protesting something he's not even doing."

Stern explains that Rock stopped using the flag after receiving an award from the Detroit NAACP in 2011, calling the event "the impetus" for his decision.

"I’ve never flown that flag with hate in my heart, not one ounce," Rock said when accepting the award, adding," I love America, I love Detroit, and I love black people!”

Protests over Rock's use of the Confederate flag on stage began in early July. The National Action Network, a non-profit civil rights organization, began asking that Rock take the Confederate flag off his stage permanently, and protesters were organizing outside the Detroit Historical Museum, which features an exhibit on Rock. Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the NAN's Michigan chapter, called the artist “the hometown hero who is a zero with the Confederate flag."

The protests and controversy gained national attention when, on July 8, they were discussed on Fox News. During the segment, host Megyn Kelly read on air a written statement from Rock: “Please tell the people protesting to kiss my … ask me some questions.”

"He was saying these protesters 'can kiss my a--,'" Stern explains. "Not 'kiss my a--, I'm going to use the flag.'"

Still, Williams tells the Free Press that his group is "not going to let off of this."

Calls to stop the use of the Confederate flag have been especially prevalent since the tragic shootings at Charleston, S.C.’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in mid-June. Big and Rich‘s John Rich has spoken out in favor of removing the flag from government buildings, and Charlie Daniels has also voiced his opinion.

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