Maren Morris has considered not attending the 2022 CMA Awards after getting involved in a dust-up over transphobic remarks made by Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany Aldean, as well as the backlash directed at her by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens. The country star described the incident as exposing the genre’s “very insidious culture of people feeling very comfortable being transphobic and homophobic and racist.”

In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Morris starts off by referring to herself as “the hall monitor of treating people like human beings in country music,” so it’s understandable why the annual award show on November 9th might not make her schedule. Although her latest album, Humble Quest, is nominated for Album of the Year, she revealed, “Honestly, I haven’t decided if I’m gonna go. I’m very honored that my record is nominated. But I don’t know if I feel [at] home there right now… Maybe I’ll make a game-time decision and go. But as of right now, I don’t feel comfortable going.”

Her discomfort originates from a news cycle in August that pitted Morris against Brittany Aldean, who initially posted a video on Instagram with the practically transparent transphobic caption: “I’d really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase. I love this girly life.”


Morris responded on Twitter in agreement with a critical thread from fellow country singer Cassadee Pope, saying in reference to Aldean: “It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie.” She added in the interview that “there’s a lot worse things I could’ve called her.”

In response, Morris drew the ire of Owens (who Morris greeted on Twitter with “Oh my god, not you.”) and Carlson, who devoted a segment on his Fox News program to calling her a “lunatic” and a “country music person who I hope leaves country music immediately.”

She first heard about Carlson’s screed from a longtime text chain with Kacey Musgraves and Brothers Osborne, and immediately thought, “You know what? This would be really funny on a t-shirt.” With that, she began selling “Lunatic Country Music Person” shirts with proceeds — so far, more than $150,000 benefitting Trans Lifeline and GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program.


The experience seemed to reveal an “irreparable” divide among the “two country musics,” a phrase Morris attributes to Brandi Carlile and describes as the difference between her and “people in country music that want it to be niche. They don’t want it to expand. They don’t care about it becoming more inclusive. It’s theirs, and everyone else is an other, or woke, or whatever.” She later suggested her burden to defend the genre’s good apples sometimes feels like an “abusive relationship”: “‘It’s not all bad!’ But sometimes you have to call it out for what it is.”

Beyond the CMA’s less-than-sterling reputation for handling hot-button topics, Morris seems to have plenty of her own reasons for not wanting to show up and even expressed regret for attending the 2021 ceremony. “Some nights are fun. Others I’m just crawling out of my skin,” she shared. “I’m not good at those events because I’m awkward. But this time I kind of feel peaceful at the notion of not going.”

Morris will be guaranteed to appear for the rest of her ongoing “Humble Quest Tour” through mid-October. Grab your seats via Ticketmaster.