Billboards in Support of Morgan Wallen Appear in Nashville
Billboards calling Morgan Wallen his fans' choice as Entertainer of the Year have popped up around Nashville ahead of the 2021 ACM Awards. More than 800 fans contributed to a campaign to raise money for the signs.
The Boot and Taste of Country confirmed the locations of three billboards on Monday (April 12), each with two Wallen-focused graphics in rotation, at various, highly trafficked intersections near downtown Nashville. One billboard design reads "Support that boy from East Tennessee," while another includes the GAHT hashtag in larger font.
Urban Dictionary's definition of GAHT is not fit for publication, but a sweatshirt for sale on Wallen's website describes it as an interjection "used for anything and everything." It's not clear how those paying for the billboards intended it.
The messaging also refers to Mark 11:25, a Bible verse that promotes forgiveness of those whom you hold something against. Each graphic holds in place for about 10 seconds, before another advertiser's message pops up.
The billboards are located along Broadway and West End Avenue, within one mile of each other and very near Music Row. They are located at I-65 and Broadway, in the White Castle parking lot; West End Avenue and 19th Avenue; and West End Avenue between 23rd Avenue and 24th Avenue.
The billboards are operated by Lamar Advertising, a representative for which was unable to provide any information about who ordered the digital signs, how long they'll be up or what they cost; Wallen's representatives, meanwhile, had not returned a request for comment as of press time. A rep for the singer late confirmed to Rolling Stone that Wallen was not involved in the billboard purchase, while a rep for Lamar confirmed that they have not been in communication with his team.
On Tuesday, Taste of Country confirmed that more than 800 people helped finance the billboard, organized in at least one private Facebook group. That same day, a disclosure was added to the billboards to explain that they were "paid for by Darleen Ingram and 824 loyal fans."
"We allow our billboard network to be used to display commercial and non-commercial messages, and we have an extensive … policy governing what types of content is permissible," the Lamar rep says to Rolling Stone. "In the case of the Morgan Wallen billboards, the content met with Lamar’s Copy Acceptance Policy standards. However, the billboards were initially missing the required disclaimer disclosing the advertiser’s identity, which has since been added."
Music Mayhem Magazine and Country Now first shared pictures of the billboards, along with a message from a fan who claims to have ordered them. This person — who is not named — also says the money to pay for them came from Wallen supporters during a crowdsourcing campaign.
The anonymous source explains that they picked this week for the billboards to run to coincide with the 2021 ACM Awards, which will air live from Nashville on CBS on Sunday (April 18). Wallen was disqualified from this year's awards after he was caught saying the N-word on camera after what he described a 72-hour bender.
Since that incident, Wallen's music was removed from important playlists on streaming sites, radio playlists and more; additionally, he was dropped by his booking agent, and his record label suspended his contract. Since a Feb. 10 apology video, Wallen has been silent on social media.