Council rejects sign for Morgan Wallen’s new Nashville bar, citing past behavior


The Nashville Metropolitan Council has rejected a bid to install a sign for Morgan Wallen’s new bar, with council members citing his past controversies, including using a racial slur and nearly hitting police officers after throwing a chair off a Nashville rooftop, as reasons for rejecting the measure.

At the Tuesday council meeting, a resolution was introduced that would have authorized 4th Avenue Property LLC, the bar’s ownership group, to hang a large, lit-up sign at the downtown Nashville venue, named “Morgan Wallen’s This Bar and Tennessee Kitchen.” 

The resolution ultimately failed, with three council members voting yes, 30 no and four abstaining, denying Wallen and the companies behind his bar the opportunity to hang a neon sign above the Broadway joint that is set to open this Memorial Day weekend.

Representatives for Wallen on Wednesday declined a request for comment from NBC News. A lawyer who appeared in business searches as a registered agent for 4th Avenue Property did not immediately respond to a phone call and email seeking comment Wednesday night.

Council member Jacob Kupin, who brought the resolution, took a moment to say that it came across his desk around the same time Wallen was accused of throwing a chair off of a rooftop in Nashville last month, nearly hitting first responders down on the street.

Following the chair-throwing incident, Wallen wrote on X that he was “not proud of my behavior” and that he has the “utmost respect for the officers working every day to keep us all safe.”

Kupin said he realized that the city would be “putting up a sign with someone’s name on it who has not, you know, been a good actor downtown.”

Kupin acknowledged Wallen’s efforts to apologize for his actions, saying he was in favor of supporting the motion because of those efforts and because of the fact that the restaurant group supporting the bar — TC Management Group — has been easy to work with and has “worked on efforts to make downtown a safer place.”

Referencing Wallen, Kupin said that “the fact that someone’s name is going up on a bar doesn’t mean we condone all the behavior.” He added that “the operator themselves I don’t think should be penalized for what happened.”

TC Management Group did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment Wednesday night.

Kupin ultimately asked for his colleagues’ support for the measure but said he just wanted to take a moment to talk about the circumstances before moving forward.

Later, when pressed by a colleague, Kupin again said he wanted to give the third party operators a fair shot at opening and running the business, “but I also felt like I could not let this individual just slide through quietly” because of “the things he has said and done.”

Conversation surrounding the resolution, which entered the floor with committee support, then turned negative, with other council members saying they couldn’t support a massive sign bearing Wallen’s name after his past actions.

After confirming with Kupin that Wallen used a racial slur in 2021, Council Member At Large Delishia Porterfield said, “I will be voting no against this,” citing legislation passed earlier in the session “saying that we wanted to make sure that Nashville was a supportive place for everyone.”

“So I don’t want to see a billboard up with the name of a person who’s throwing chairs off of balconies and who is saying racial slurs and using the N-word,” Porterfield said.

Two years after the racial slur incident, Wallen told Billboard that there is “no excuse” for his using the word. He said at the time, after speaking with a number of Black leaders, that his process “to learn and try to be better” was ongoing. 

Council member Brenda Gadd also said she’d vote no on the resolution, citing the same reasons as Porterfield and noting that Wallen “continues to get second chances” for his behaviors.

Council member Joy Smith Kimbrough echoed her colleagues’ sentiments, adding that she could not support the resolution out of respect for the officers who were almost hit by Wallen’s thrown chair.

Council member Jordan Huffman went as far as to say that Wallen gives all East Tennesseans a “bad name.”

“His comments are hateful, his actions are harmful. And you don’t belong in this town as far as I’m concerned,” Huffman said, encouraging his colleagues to vote against the resolution.


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