While a sponsor — who Ted Nugent won’t name — pulled out of his Spirit of the Wild TV show over accusations of racism, Nugent says that he’s not a racist.
Speaking on Facebook Live over the weekend, citing his history with and reverence for the Black heroes of music, Nugent said that being called a “n—–” by a member of Black Detroit session band the Funk Brothers remains one of the biggest compliments of his life.
In a “campfire” chat with his wife, Nugent spoke of when his ’60s band Lourds were sound-checking at Detroit’s Cobo Hall, opening for the Supremes. The Funk Brothers were side stage, “watching us, kind of snickering,” recalls Nugent. “And the biggest, baddest, Blackest Funk Brother of all stood up and started moseying over towards us.” He then went on the describe being called the word, which you can see in the full session below.
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Nugent also said that he was tapped to emcee an event for the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, which he was unable to do as he was overseas on tour.
Last month, Tom Morello took flack for saying he was a friend of the Motor City Madman, and while they didn’t agree on everything, they were both “free speech advocates, love of rock & roll, respect for black artists who’ve created rock and roll.”
Nugent, who has been making records since 1975, still uses the Funk Brothers’ compliment to spur his live performances. “To this day I use it as a badge of honor,” Nugent admitted.
“Everybody who pays attention — not the ones who call me a racist, but the people who are actually honest and pay attention know that I have paid homage and reverence to the Black heroes of music all my life, which means I’m the anti-racist,” Nugent continued. “So if you find somebody who calls Ted Nugent a racist, you are looking at a subhuman piece of shit who lives a lie.”
That said, Nugent did once call President Barack Obama “a piece of shit” onstage among other racial epithets before eventually apologizing for it in 2014.