The singer and songwriter announced that he’s dropping out from performing at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting this weekend in Houston, saying it would be “disrespectful and hurtful” to perform days after 19 children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting in the state.
McLean, who is best-known for his legendary 1971 folk rock anthem “American Pie,” was scheduled to perform Saturday night during the NRA’s Grand Ole Night of Freedom concert. But those plans changed when a gunman, identified by police as Salvador Ramos, 18, entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., and started firing on children in the worst mass shooting at an American school in nearly a decade.
“In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week,” McLean, 76, said in a statement. “I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans.”
The news was first reported by the Portland Press Herald.
McLean is among a few performers who’ve announced they will no longer perform at this weekend’s convention. Country and gospel singer Larry Gatlin and Larry Stewart of the country band Restless Heart also said Thursday that they were dropping out in response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Gatlin said he was also dropping out due to what he cited as the NRA’s “outdated and ill-thought-out positions regarding firearms” in the United States.
“My prayers and thoughts go to all who are suffering, and I pray that the NRA will rethink some of its outdated and ill-thought-out positions regarding firearms in AMERICA,” he said. “I’m a 2nd Amendment guy, but the 2nd amendment should not apply to everyone. It’s that simple.”