DETROIT — Kid Rock released a statement Monday morning addressing the criticism he has received since being announced as the headline opener for Little Caesars Arena here.
His post on Facebook was lengthy, profane and truculent, but he still isn't saying whether he's running for U.S. Senate from Michigan or not. The rocker (real name Robert Ritchie) has been teasing the possibility for months, suggesting he'd run as a President Trump-supporting Republican.
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But in his latest rant, he seemed more interested in promoting his upcoming concerts in Detroit. "We have been beyond working hard and have something we think all in attendance will enjoy (as long as you don’t mind a few f-bombs here and there! lol)," he boasted.
The decision to have Kid Rock as the opening act for the new arena with six consecutive shows starting Tuesday has been called out by various civil rights groups in Detroit, as well as the Detroit Free Press's Stephen Henderson.
Critics have called Kid Rock's performance a "middle finger" to Detroit, pointing to the fact that the city is 80% black, and Kid Rock has trafficked in performance stunts that could be viewed as an affront to African-American culture.
The singer began using the Confederate flag in shows in 2001. He publicly announced he was stopping the practice in 2011, after receiving an award from the NAACP. A video that came out this summer, however, showed a pregnant woman wearing a T-shirt with the flag.
Calling himself the "King of Detroit Love," Kid Rock berates Detroit charities who have been silent during the controversy, saying "I will focus my philanthropy efforts on other organizations besides the others I supported in the past."
He also doubles down on his criticism of football player Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem.
He slings arrows at "the extreme left and the extreme right," dumps on the media in general, and the tabloid New York Post in particular, as purveyors of "garbage" and "fake news," and dismisses any suggestion he's racist by concluding, "P.P.P.P.P.S. I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!"
He wrote that his enemies are bringing up the Confederate flag controversy "to stir the pot, when we all know none of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office. Pretty funny how scared I have them all and their only agenda is to try and label people/me racist who do not agree or cower to them!!," he declared.
Little Caesars Arena has defended hiring Kid Rock for its shows.
“Kid Rock is the perfect entertainer to open Little Caesars Arena," Tom Wilson, president, and CEO of Olympia Entertainment, the sports and entertainment organization that oversees business operations for the Detroit Red Wings, said in January when the performance was announced.
Last week at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new arena, Chris Ilitch, president, and CEO of Ilitch Holdings gave a tepid response to the controversial headliner.
"While I can't control what any artist does or says, I can guide our businesses to continue bringing life-changing opportunities to people in our community. I will always demand that our companies strive to do right by Detroit, our community and its people," Illitch said.
A week prior to Illitch's statement, it had been announced that Kid Rock wasn't just opening the stadium with six shows, but that he'd be a permanent fixture there. A Kid Rock themed restaurant was reported.
Last week, Mayor Mike Duggan weighed in, saying, "He's an entertainer. My feeling is if you don't like Kid Rock's politics or music — don't go to the concert."
Sunday evening, Kid Rock's public relations firm sent an email to reporters announcing the singer would be releasing a statement on "recent controversies" on his Facebook page at 12 a.m. EST Sept. 11, 2017. A post went up shortly before 9:30 a.m.
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