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If you ask Hank Williams Jr. a question, know that you are going to get a no-bull answer. The legendary country artist has always been that way. Fox News found that out this past Monday, as the singer appeared on the network’s morning show, “Fox and Friends,” to, among other things, promote a new release of unreleased recordings by his father.
Before they got that far, the anchors (led by Gretchen Carlson) asked Williams about politics. The singer talked about who might fare well in the upcoming Republican primary when be began talking about the recent golf excursion between President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner during the Congressional budget crisis. The singer likened the meeting between the two political opposites to be “like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu..”
After the show was over, his appearance was the talk of the nation. ESPN pulled Williams’s opening sequence from Monday Night Football amid the controversy that his comments elicited.
Tuesday afternoon, Billboard.com caught up with Ken Levitan, the star’s manager. When asked his opinion about his client’s appearance and comments, he said “I think it was blown out of proportion. What Hank meant was directed toward the extreme differences between the parties. I think he explained that in the statements he made afterwards. He’s a passionate guy. Obviously, he’s not an Obama fan. But I think he was talking about the two of them getting together were polar opposites. That’s what he was trying to get across.
He added, “Did he use an extreme way of saying that? Yes. Was it potentially the wrong choice of words? I guess to the public, it was. But what he was really talking about was there being two extreme polar opposites who don’t get along — and who gets hurt by that? The public. And, when you look at all of the people hurting, the fact they don’t get along, and they were on a golf course — made Hank extremely upset.”
Of the decision to pull him off Monday Night Football for the evening, Levitan said “Do I think ESPN should have taken him off? I don’t. I think they should have taken a look at what he was saying. Hank doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body, so there was no use of it that way. He treats everybody alike. He’s very passionate about the things that he is passionate about. He says what he thinks, and sometimes he’s extreme in it.”
What about the future for the man known as “Bocephus” and ESPN? “I am hoping that he continues his American tradition because that’s what it is — a huge popular culture tradition,” expresses Levitan. “He does a great job with it, and I think they would be making a huge mistake to take him off. “
He stresses that “the people there are huge fans of Hank’s. He’s worked with the same people there for a long time. They love Hank.”
Interestingly enough, Williams received some support yesterday from an unlikely source — ABC’s “The View.” Hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar – both vocal supporters of Obama – said they understood Williams’ comments and what he meant by them.
“Hank is a musician, and he’s always been provocative,” Goldberg said on the show. “He could have chosen his words more wisely, but as someone who steps in it quite often, we all do it. Those among us who are without sin, cast the first stone.”