Morgan Wallen attends the 2019 CMT Music Awards

Morgan Wallen’s Recent Arrest Is Just the Latest in His String of Controversies

Morgan Wallen has a long line of controversies to his name. However, he recently topped them off after he was arrested on felony charges following an incident in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Wallen is a country singer who gained prominence after competing on season 6 of The Voice. After the show, he signed a record deal with Panacea Records and kickstarted his country music career. He is best known for his songs “Whiskey Glasses,” “Chasin You,” and “Wasted on You.” However, Wallen’s problematic behavior started shortly after his rise to mainstream success. His controversies, which included an additional arrest, breaking of COVID-19 protocols, and accusations of racism, have been ongoing since 2020.

There was a time when his career appeared to be nearly over, in which many country music platforms and record labels withdrew their support for him. But, as is so often the case, he was able to sweep the controversy under the rug, releasing a new album, One Thing at a Time, in 2023. Given his ability to avoid long-lasting consequences for his years-long problematic behavior, the possibility of him continuing to be controversial remained. Hence, the recent news of his arrest should not have been surprising to those familiar with his history.

Morgan Wallen arrested and charged with three felonies in Nashville

On April 8, news broke that Wallen had been booked into jail in the early morning hours and slapped with three counts of reckless endangerment and one count of disorderly conduct after he allegedly threw a chair from a rooftop. Two police officers outside of Chief’s Bar in downtown Nashville were startled when a chair suddenly came hurling down from the building and crashed-landed in the street.

Upon entering the bar, staff informed the officers that Wallen was the perpetrator. Sure enough, video footage appeared to show him “lunging and throwing an object off the roof,” which is six stories high. According to witnesses and the police, Wallen threw the chair for no apparent reason, seemingly just randomly tossing it before laughing. He was quickly arrested and charged with endangerment and disorderly conduct, as his actions very nearly harmed the police officers, with the chair landing just feet from where they were standing. Additionally, he endangered the public in general, as the incident could’ve been much, much worse if someone had been in the chair’s path and been injured from his senseless actions.

Wallen’s bond was set at $15,250, and he has a court date set for May 3rd, a date he originally planned to perform at Nissan Stadium in Nashville as part of his tour. He has not issued a statement about the incident, but his representatives confirmed to USA Today that he was cooperating with authorities. The news attracted attention on social media, as Wallen quickly began trending on X. Most users expressed their non-surprise at this development and questioned how many times Wallen has to be arrested or make headlines for a negative reason before his fans stop defending him.

Wallen’s controversial history

As mentioned above, this isn’t Wallen’s first run-in with the police. The previous incident also occurred in Nashville, but it was at Kid Rock’s bar instead of Chief’s. Staff kicked him out of the bar after he was making a ruckus and “kicking glass items” around. Once he got out onto the street, he got into a verbal altercation with a passerby, while police looked on. In this case, the police gave him the opportunity to calm down and simply walk away, but when he refused, he was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Wallen later responded to the arrest, downplaying its seriousness, claiming it was merely him and his friends “horse-playing” and they hadn’t meant “any harm.” The charges were ultimately dropped, and people seemed to forget about the arrest, especially since it quickly got overshadowed by his ignoring COVID-19 protocols. In October 2020, photos surfaced showing Wallen partying without a mask and kissing multiple women in jam-packed bars in Alabama. This was during the height of COVID-19, during which Alabama had enacted mask and social distancing protocols. At the time, he was due to appear on SNL, but his appearance was subsequently canceled after the photos.

Again, Wallen issued an “apology,” though he largely seemed to be seeking pity for missing out on SNL and because his “short-sighted” actions affected his “long-term goals” and “dreams.” Of course, SNL ended up inviting him to host again, anyway, during which he performed a skit joking about breaking COVID-19 protocols.

In early 2021, TMZ obtained footage from a neighbor who began filming Wallen as he and his friends arrived at Wallen’s house late one night. The group was visibly intoxicated, yelling and honking horns to awaken most of the neighborhood. As one neighbor was filming, Wallen launched into a profane tirade about one of the guys in the group, yelling expletives before topping it off with a racial slur. Once again, Wallen issued an apology, claiming he had spoken to leaders in the Black community and that he was trying to get sober. He emphasized that he didn’t want people to defend him and was glad to take responsibility for his actions.

Wallen initially faced consequences for his actions, as many radio stations and music streamers pulled his music, and he was suspended by his record label and banned from the American Music Awards. However, by 2022, he was performing once again, and by 2023, his label had reinstated him and allowed him to release One Thing at a Time. He also gave pitiful interviews talking about the “dark” period in his life when all his controversies occurred and how much he struggled to get through it. As his new album climbed the music charts and blared on the radio, it was as if all his past controversies were forgotten.

Now, Wallen’s past controversies are back in the public discourse after his latest arrest. It remains to be seen how the music industry will respond to this latest controversy, considering it has already given Wallen so many second chances, and it’s not entirely clear if he genuinely appreciated or made the most out of them.

(featured image: Mike Coppola / Getty)


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Author
Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.