Musician Kid Rock on Monday defended himself against charges of racism from a Detroit-based civil rights group, claiming he wouldn’t be facing such attacks were he not considering a run for the U.S. Senate.
A Detroit-based affiliate of the National Action Network said last week it would protest Kid Rock’s six-show run opening the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit this week, aiming to get the concerts canceled.
Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, said in a statement that people should ignore “the garbage the extreme left is trying to create!”
“They are trying to use the old confederate flag BS, etc. to stir the pot, when we all know none of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office. Pretty funny how scared I have them all and their only agenda is to try and label people / me racist who do not agree or cower to them!!” wrote Ritchie, who lives in Clarkston.
“My track record in Detroit and Michigan speaks for itself, and I would dare anyone talking trash to put theirs up against mine.”
In closing, he said, “I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!”
The National Action Network, founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, has blasted Ritchie’s embrace of the Confederate flag in previous performances, as well as his criticism of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem.
“When you hire Kid Rock, who is known to be dog-whistling and cat-calling to white supremacist organizations and the white supremacist community, alt-right, whatever you want to call them, and you take our tax dollars to do that? That’s wrong,” the Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the National Action Network’s Detroit chapter, said on Facebook last week.
In his Monday statement, Ritchie reiterated his disdain for “anyone who takes a knee or sits during our national anthem.”
Kaepernick, who is black, refused to stand during the national anthem while with the San Francisco 49ers last year in protest of police violence and racial oppression.
Ritchie said he was “very disappointed” that none of the people, businesses or charities he’s supported in Detroit have responded to the “unfounded attacks” from his critics.
“So for the unforeseen future I will focus my philanthropy efforts on other organizations besides the ones I have supported in the past,” Ritchie wrote.
Last week, Ritchie dismissed those calling him “racist” in profanity-laced remarks during a Grand Rapids concert Wednesday, telling Nazis and the KKK to “stay the (expletive) away.”
Ritchie has teased a potential run for the U.S. Senate, stoking anticipation with sales of “Kid Rock for US Senate” merchandise and political statements at recent performances.
At last week’s show in Grand Rapids, his announcer introduced Ritchie as Michigan’s “next senator,” and Ritchie came on stage to the tune of “Hail to the Chief.”
The group Common Cause this month filed a complaint against Ritchie with the Federal Election Commission and U.S. Department of Justice, alleging he has violated federal election law by acting like a Senate candidate while failing to register his candidacy or comply with regulations for campaign contribution limits and disclosures.
Ritchie has previously said he’s exploring a “very possible campaign” for Senate to challenge Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing, who is up for re-election next year.
His campaign website sells campaign shirts, hats, yard signs and stickers that say, “Kid Rock for US Senate.” He has said proceeds will go toward an organization he plans to start to promote voter registration.