by Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter
Getting the boot from Fort Knox is the latest wrinkle in a controversy that began last weekend at an NRA convention and led to a visit from the Secret Service.
Citing inflammatory language while expressing his displeasure with President Barack Obama, the military has uninvited rock star and conservative political activist Ted Nugent from performing at Fort Knox in Kentucky, according to the U.S. Army post's Facebook page.
"After learning of opening act Ted Nugent's recent public comments about the president of the United States, Fort Knox leadership decided to cancel his performance on the installation," it's Facebook posting says.
So far, the June 23 concert remains on the Fort Knox schedule, with REO Speedwagon and Styx listed as "co-headliners," but army personnel said they will grant requests for refunds in light of their decision to nix the opening act.
The cancellation is the latest wrinkle in a controversy that has engulfed Nugent since last weekend when, speaking at an NRA convention, the rocker said that he would be "dead or in jail" if Obama is reelected in November.
Also referring to Obama and Democratic candidates in general, he told the NRA faithful: "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November."
Use of the violent metaphors earned Nugent a visit from Secret Service agents on Thursday. He said Friday on his website that he had with them a "good, solid professional meeting concluding that I have never made any threats of violence toward anyone."
A spokesman for Fort Knox told TheBlaze.com that having Nugent perform "would be a conflict of interest since the military has the obligation to be apolitical."
Such a claim, though, seems dubious when it comes to choosing entertainers, who oftentimes show their partisanship. At its website, for example, Fort Knox is touting an appearance this month by comedian Jay Phillips who is supportive of Obama through his Twitter activities. And Ludacris has performed at U.S. Army bases even after the 2008 release of his pro-Obama song "Politics As Usual," which calls Hillary Clinton, who was running against Obama at the time, a "bitch" who is "irrelevant." The ultra-partisan song also called President George W. Bush "mentally handicapped" and says that Sen. John McCain "don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed."
Fort Knox personnel did not return calls or emails requesting clarification on their "obligation to be apolitical" in their entertainment selections.
Comments at the Fort Knox Facebook page have been running about 3-1 against the decision to boot Nugent from the concert.
"He is such a supporter of the troops. Such a shame that he was canceled for expressing his freedom of speech. This is America, if you have not forgot," one commenter wrote.
"I thought that freedom of speech was one of the very same things that our military fought for. When Obama said he was going to change the military, he did. He made them cowards. Shame on you Fort Knox," said another.
And on the flip side: "Anyone who threatens a U.S. president like that should not be allowed on a military installation. No matter which party he affiliates himself with. Good decision."