September 11, 2017 / 4:13 PM / 3 years ago

Singer Kid Rock: Outcry over headlining new arena is political hatchet job

DETROIT (Reuters) - Singer-songwriter Kid Rock, an outspoken supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, said on Monday that calls by “the extreme left” and civil rights groups for his removal as the first headliner for a new arena in Detroit were politically motivated.

FILE PHOTO: Kid Rock inducts rock band Cheap Trick at the 31st annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. on April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Rock, who has hinted that he may run for the U.S. Senate, is scheduled to perform several concerts as the headliner at the Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday. The auditorium had a ribbon cutting last week.

“None of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office,” he wrote in a profanity-laced post.

Rock has been criticized for incorporating the Confederate battle flag into his performances. The Detroit Free Press reported that Rock publicly announced he was stopping that practise in 2011.

The Michigan chapter of the National Action Network earlier this month called for Kid Rock to be removed from Detroit concerts.

Born Robert James Ritchie in the Detroit suburb of Romeo, he rose to fame in 1998 as his debut album “Devil Without a Cause” sold some 14 million copies. He gained additional celebrity through his courtship of actress Pamela Anderson and their brief marriage in the 2000s.

Rock, who is white, said Monday that his track record of financial and charitable support for Detroit, a largely African-American city, speaks for itself. “I love black people!!” he wrote on his Facebook post.

In July, Rock drew attention on Twitter and his Facebook page to a “Kid Rock ‘18 for U.S. Senate” website, stoking speculation the 46-year-old was considering a run next year. He later said he would discuss his plans in the following weeks, but in the meantime would focus on registering voters.

Rock presumably would seek to challenge Michigan’s Democratic incumbent senator, Debbie Stabenow, who is up for re-election in 2018.

According to Roll Call, Rock endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president in 2012 and initially supported Ben Carson for the Republican nomination in 2016 but switched to Trump when the former reality-TV star became the party’s nominee.

Reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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