Facing the music. Five months after making headlines for a controversial concert amid the coronavirus pandemic, Chase Rice is under fire for joking about having COVID-19 as he promoted his new single.
“Just lost my taste and smell. Weird. Also, dropping a single at midnight,” the 35-year-old country singer tweeted earlier this week, referring to his new track with Florida Georgia Line, “Pretty Spot On.”
Minutes later, Rice sent another tweet: ”On a real note. Don’t have covid. But I’m dropping a single tonight. With 2 guys that I learned a lot from. Respect the hell out of @FLAGALine. And 10 years after we started doing music together and lived together, we’re at it again.”
While several country music fans were quick to send Rice well-wishes after his initial post, many social media users were upset when they realized he was joking about having the virus.
“I’ve lost all my respect for you this year. Congrats. I’ll be turning off the radio every time it comes on,” one person tweeted.
Another user wrote, “Really in bad taste to joke about Covid. Thought you had learned something since the concert incident this year. Guess not. Here’s an idea: take all the earnings from this song and donate to Covid survivors or donate PPE to local hospitals. Do better, Covid is not a joke.”
Other social media users defended Rice. One tweet read, “If you can’t make jokes right now, when can you. I think if people were a little more lighthearted during this time. Life wouldn’t be so miserable. People joke about it daily, no reason you can’t too. Heard a tidbit of you new song w/ @FLAGALine on @SXMTheHighway, love it!!”
A fourth tweeter, however, fired back at the fan defending him, writing, “I know right last month when my mother died from covid we had so much fun as a family making covid jokes … Man good times #loveyoumom.”
Rice has yet to publicly respond to backlash for his joke. He previously acknowledged backlash for how it “looked” when he performed at a venue without masks in Tennessee on June 27.
“Everybody had a blast, but then once I posted the video a lot of people seeing that online had a big problem with how the show looked,” the “Eyes on You” crooner said via Instagram. “There’s a lot of varying opinions, a lot of different opinions on COVID-19, how it works with live music crowds and what all that looks like.”
Rice has since performed drive-in concerts.
“You can take your trucks, take your cars. You have your own space, you can get out of your cars, you can get out of your trucks and party with me,” he told his followers at the time. “Please do sing the songs, but stay in your own space, stay with the people you came with.”
More than 13 million of the reported 63 million coronavirus cases worldwide have been in the United States, with America leading with the highest number of deaths, more than 269,000.
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