GM caught in Kid Rock’s Confederate flag flap


DETROIT — Dissatisfied with an apparent lack of empathy from rocker Kid Rock, a civil rights group calling on him to renounce the Confederate battle flag is meeting with his tour sponsor: General Motors.

“We will be furthering our call to ask GM to remove their support of funds for Kid Rock’s tour,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan Chapter of the National Action Network and pastor of King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit.

General Motors, whose Chevrolet brand is sponsoring Kid Rock’s summer tour, today sent the Free Press a statement confirming the meeting Thursday.

“We have been in touch with Reverend Williams, and representatives from Chevrolet will be meeting with him later this week to better understand his concerns. We need to let some open and constructive dialogue occur as a first step, and we’ll go from there,” according to the statement.

Members of the action network, a branch of the national organization founded by Al Sharpton, appeared outside the Detroit Historical Museum earlier this month calling on Kid Rock to distance himself from the battle flag that represented the South in the Civil War and has been associated with racial hatred. Last week, the issue became more heated.

Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly, wrapping up a segment about Rock and the Confederate flag, passed along his message:

“Please tell the people protesting that they can kiss my …,” Rock said, according to Kelly.

But the automaker on Friday reiterated its support for Rock, who has been criticized by some for his use of the controversial flag through the years. A Chevrolet spokesman said Friday that the automaker stands behind the statement it issued Monday after a Detroit protest by NAN, a New York-based group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

“The only flag on stage during the Chevy-sponsored summer concert tour is the American flag, and to our knowledge, Kid Rock has not used the Confederate flag on stage for several years,” the GM statement read. “We are committed to our sponsorship of Kid Rock’s summer tour and are confident that he will provide his fans, many of whom are proud Chevrolet owners, with a spectacular concert experience that celebrates American Freedom.”

Kid Rock has declined to issue a formal statement about the recent flag flap but did express contempt for the protesters in a remark relayed last Wednesday by Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly. Wrapping up a segment about Rock and the Confederate flag, Kelly passed along his message.

Rock’s spokesman told the Free Press that the remark came from a personal conversation between Rock and the Fox host.