Angry fans and radio stations appear to have rapidly clipped Dixie Chick Natalie Maines’ antiwar feathers. The country singer apologized Friday evening for saying her band is ”ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas” — comments that prompted furious online posts and phone calls from listeners, and boycotts from some country stations. ”I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful,” Maines said in a statement released by her publicist. ”I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect.”
She also seemed to soften her antiwar stance in the face of protests. ”While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers’ lives are lost,” she said in her new statement. In an earlier statement on their website, the Chicks had taken a stronger stand: ”While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost.”
On Friday, some country stations had begun boycotts of the Dixie Chicks, who had been topping playlists with the Vietnam-themed single ”Traveling Soldier.” ”’The majority of our calls are from listeners who are upset and concerned with Natalie not backing our leader, our president,” said DJ Dennis Mitchell, of Cat Country 106.7 in Harrisburg, Penn. Before Maines’ apology, Mitchell told EW.com that his station had stopped playing the Chicks’ music, and might not start again for as long as a month.