Several radio stations are boycotting the Dixie Chicks, after singer Natalie Maines -- a Lubbock, Texas, native -- told a London audience last week that "we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."
Maines quickly issued a disclaimer, stating that the comment was made because the band had witnessed strong anti-American sentiment while it toured Europe over the past several weeks. "While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost," the statement read. "I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."
A second statement was released on Friday, containing a full apology. "My remark was disrespectful," Maines said. "I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect. While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American."
Despite the apology, some stations and fans were still angry. Kansas City's WDAF AM has pulled the Chicks from its play list and placed a message board on its Web site for fans to comment. The board boasts more than 6,000 posts, including defenses ("Isn't this America? Just because a person doesn't like our president doesn't mean that she isn't patriotic.") and criticisms ("In other countries if you speak out against your leader there are dire consequences. Maybe if she had to go hungry for a while she would learn to keep her mouth shut. All of my Dixie Chick CDs are history."). Stations in Texas, Missouri and Alabama have also banned the Grammy-winning trio's music.
In Bossier City, Louisiana, a few hundred protesters secured a tractor to destroy CDs and other Chicks-related material on Saturday night.
The Chicks' European tour, behind last year's multi-platinum Home, wraps this week in Germany. The band has a single Australian date set for Australia at the end of the month, before taking April off to prepare for its U.S. tour. The tour has had strong advance sales and is scheduled to begin May 1st in Greenville, South Carolina.