This is how you respond to a bully.
Country music star Maren Morris is rewriting the narrative. Within hours of being insulted on television by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the 32-year-old turned the ugly situation into something positive by raising some big bucks for transgender organizations. According to WKRN, it all began late last month when Morris criticized the controversial comments made by country singer Jason Aldean's wife, Brittany Kerr Aldean, on the topic of gender-affirming care for trans children.
Captioning an Instagram makeup video she posted on August 23, Aldean wrote: "I'd really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase. I love this girly life."
Aldean's comments drew backlash from many online as her words were widely interpreted as transphobic. This included country singer Cassadee Pope, who seemed to reference the controversial comments in a scathing tweet that reads: "You'd think celebs with beauty brands would see the positives in including LGBTQ+ people in their messaging. But instead, here we are, hearing someone compare their 'tomboy phase' to someone wanting to transition. Real nice." However, according to E! News, Aldean doubled down on her divisive comments in response to Pope's tweet, tagging the singer in a lengthy Instagram Story in which she wrote: "Advocating for the genital mutilation of children under the disguise of love and calling it 'gender-affirming care,' is one of the worst evils."
“You’d think celebs with beauty brands would see the positives in including LGBTQ+ people in their messaging" https://t.co/v9vMebGndf— GAY TIMES (@gaytimes) September 5, 2022
Not long after, Morris replied to Pope's original tweet in agreement, writing: "It's so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie." Aldean later appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" to address her alleged transphobic social media messages. During the segment, the host labeled Morris as a "lunatic country music person" while discussing the exchange between Aldean, Pope and Morris.
It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie.— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) August 26, 2022
Morris took the opportunity to turn the insult into a catalyst for change. A few days after the show, Morris announced that she has designed and released a new T-shirt that features the "Lunatic country music person," phrase alongside her name and the phone number of the Trans Lifeline crisis hotline. "Black tee with 'Lunatic Country Music Person' and the Peer Support & Crisis Hotline for trans youth: 877-565-8860. All proceeds will be split between GLAAD's Transgender Media Program and Trans Lifeline," reads the product description for the T-shirt, which is available for pre-order at the price of $35.
I am loving seeing people in country push back against transphobic shit, I also hope it leads to trans artists in country music getting some actual recognition and a platform. https://t.co/TAFZIn5uYS— Niko Stratis (@nikostratis) September 6, 2022
As fans welcomed Morris' new merchandise with open arms, within a few hours of announcing the T-shirt the singer shared an incredible update about the product sales. "$63K in 2 hours. Y’all are insane (or lunatics)," she tweeted, adding mind-blown and crying emojis. Morris later revealed that she has managed to raise more than $100,000 for the nonprofit organizations through T-shirt sales. Social media users showered her with praise for how she handled the incident. "Thank you Maren for protecting and looking out for all kids, I made my purchase and will wear with pride," tweeted @miaballengee. "I don't like country much and I don't know who you are but I like you and I like your style. I might just have to have a listen as well. What a nice young lady with a good heart and sense of humor," wrote @AgacnpG.