Thursday, March 1, 2018
– One day after former Arkansas Mick Huckabee was elected to the Country Music Association Foundation board, the conservative firebrand resigned in the wake of opposition to his selection.
"The CMA Foundation has accepted former Governor Mike Huckabee's resignation from its Board of Directors, effective immediately," the CMA said in a statement late Thursday afternoon
Among those who reportedly opposed his selection were Shane McAnally, a leading writer, producer and label executive, and management company head Jason Owen. Both are gay, and Huckabee has taken stances opposed by the gay community.
The opposition was strong. Owen, who runs Sandbox Entertainment, wrote a letter to the Foundation saying his artists would no longer work with it.
"It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know moving forward, Sandbox and Monument (Sandbox's Sony-distributed label) will no longer support the CMA Foundation in any way (this includes everyone we represent collectively) considering the heartbreaking news shared today regarding Mike Huckabee appointee/elected to the CMA Foundation. Further, we find it hard to support the organization as a whole as a result. As you may know I have a child and two on the way. This man has made it clear that my family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant. Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice."
"I will not participate in any organization that elevates people like this to positions that amplify their sick voices," Owen said. "This was a detrimentally poor choice by the CMA and its leaders. I only wish the best for you, and I know how hard you work for the foundation, but a grossly offensive decision like this only makes your job harder and diminishes the foundation's purpose."
Huckabee was elected along with singer Chris Young to join its 12-member board of directors, it was announced on Wednesday. Established as the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association (CMA), the foundation is "committed to improving and sustaining music education programs all across the United States, working to ensure every child has the opportunity to participate in music education," the CMA said on its web site.
CMA Foundation Chairman Joe Galante said, "As we continue to advance social change, it's incredibly important to continue expanding our executive board of directors with dynamic leaders."
He added, "Governor Huckabee led an impressive administration while serving the state of Arkansas and his policy experience with education reform is something we are fortunate to be able to learn from."