Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks slayed their extra-twangy performance of “Daddy Lessons” at last night’s CMA Awards, but good luck finding footage of it (or, uh, almost any mention of it) on the awards show’s social accounts.
In a super puzzling void in the Country Music Association’s online coverage of the show, the most talked-about performance of the night is nearly nowhere to be seen. Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks are absent from the “performers and presenters” section of CMA’s website, and there’s no mention of them in the show’s recap. What’s more, a tweet sent out by CMA’s official Twitter handle prior to the show was mysteriously deleted.
After speculation started spreading this afternoon that the CMA was actively scrubbing posts about Beyoncé and the Chicks from its online coverage, the association suddenly started to include more photos of them in recent posts. Hmm ... curious timing, eh?
The above post, for example, comes only after TMZ reported that CMA posts referencing Beyoncé and the Chicks’ performance were removed because of racist backlash. That’s a big claim to prove, but one look through CMA’s Facebook comments and Twitter mentions will confirm there are plenty of fans out there who are angry about a Black Lives Matter–supporting pop star performing on one of country’s biggest stages. (Naturally, it didn’t take long for the Beyhive to retaliate by flooding CMA’s social posts with bee and lemon emojis — would you expect anything less?)
On Thursday evening, the CMA responded to the controversy in a statement to Billboard, saying it only removed a snippet of the performance because of a publishing rights issue.
“CMA has not erased any mentions of Beyoncé’s performance on the CMA Awards,” the statement reads. “In advance of the broadcast, CMA removed a five-second promotional clip from ABC.com and CMA’s Facebook page. The promo was unapproved and CMA removed it prior to the broadcast. Beyoncé’s performance with Dixie Chicks was a highlight of the evening and we are continuing to share the amazing full-length performance clip via our official social channels.”
In a New York Times interview, the chief executive of the CMA, Sarah Trahern, said that the clip was removed because "Beyoncé's team hadn’t approved that.” Trahern further claimed that social media posts about the performance were limited because Bey provided her own photographer for the show, and the singer had only approved one official live video of the song on ABC’s website.
Beyoncé, for her part, has remained mum on the whole scandal, but the Chicks offered up a message on Twitter about drowning out “the hate.”