The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, but country singer Chase Rice has apparently had enough. Although many musicians have canceled their tours for the foreseeable future in order to abide by social distancing protocol to keep fans safe, Rice recently came under fire for gathering fans (many without masks) into an outdoor venue for a concert in Tennessee. And he plans on doing it again, too.
According to CNN, Rice posted footage to his Instagram Stories from a concert held on June 27, 2020 at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, which is now a museum and performance venue. Many were aghast at how close people were and the apparent absence of masks. The venue released a statement saying that safety precautions were taken. The venue reportedly reduced its capacity of 10,000 people to 4,000 people and sold less than 1,000 tickets. The venue said fans could spread out to their “own comfort level” and were given free hand sanitizer and temperature checks at the door.
Rice also took to Instagram to address the backlash. “I understand there’s a lot of varying opinions, a lot of different opinions on COVID-19, how it works with live music crowds. My biggest thing is y’all. You guys are everything to me, so your safety is a huge, huge priority,” he said. But he’s still going forward with his tour, and some music industry peers feel that’s irresponsible and shady.
Other musicians are mad at Chase Rice
Many folks are understandably upset with Chase Rice for continuing to tour during the coronavirus pandemic. Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people wear masks when out in public to help prevent the spread of the virus and practice social distancing when out among other people. Since that’s hard to do at a music venue, many artists have canceled their shows in an effort to keep fans safe — and to protect whoever those fans run into after the concert.
Country music star Kelsea Ballerini was among those who criticized Rice for bucking all of the rules. She tweeted video footage of his show and said: “Imagine being selfish enough to put thousands of people’s health at risk, not to mention the potential ripple effect, and play a NORMAL country concert right now. @ChaseRiceMusic, We all want (and need) to tour. We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait.”
“Black Like Me” singer-songwriter Mickey Guyton also tweeted: “An absolute selfish act. Shame on him.”
Fans were also confused as to why Rice would put so many people at risk.
Critics slammed Chase Rice on Twitter
Although Chase Rice was able to pack about 1,000 fans into a venue for a concert during a pandemic, plenty of other folks were not happy about his decision. Referencing coronavirus infections in Tennessee, where the concert took place, one person tweeted: “Sooo, TN’s hospital numbers hit an all time high, and Chase Rice (who is trash country music anyway) played a concert with 1,000+ packed together with no masks. cool, glad to know he’s willing to put people’s health in danger to play his sh*t music.”
The backlash against Rice’s concert also spread to other topics. A self-described country music radio host tweeted: “Since we’re talking about Chase Rice remember when I interviewed him and he got extremely defensive and cold as soon as I suggested that women, LGBTQ+ folks and BIPOC were not represented enough in country music and I had to start taking about soccer to feel comfortable again?” Not exactly glowing reviews from those invested in the country music scene.
Oh, and remember when Rice showed up on The Bachelor? Brace yourselves: We’re about to discuss yet another seemingly shady situation.
Chase Rice brings drama wherever he goes
In case you don’t remember, Chase Rice also played a crucial part in Peter Weber’s season of The Bachelor in 2020. During a one-on-one date, Victoria Fuller and Weber attended a Rice “concert” (It was thrown together by producers, of course). Although they had a good time dancing and all that, Fuller later revealed that she’d been in a relationship with Rice prior to The Bachelor.
Making matters worse — and especially awkward for fans who had read the spoilers and knew it was coming — was that Rice and Weber talked individually after the show. During that conversation, Rice apparently didn’t say one word to Weber about knowing his date. Granted, Fuller probably should have said something right away, but the fact that Rice let Weber sort of make a fool of himself wasn’t exactly the most gentlemanly move. For what it’s worth, Rice told Entertainment Tonight that he “hung out” with Fuller just one time, countering her claim that they dated enough for him to ask her to not participate in The Bachelor.
Keep in mind, Fuller courted controversy too. She lost the opportunity to pose for a Cosmopolitan cover after news broke that she’d modeled for a campaign that used the phrase “white lives matter.” Whether it’s picking women to hang out with or choosing to tour in the midst of a global pandemic, it seems Chase Rice doesn’t always make great choices.
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