Don McLean Calls UCLA Administrators ‘Morons’ After Rescinding His Achievement Award
Singer-songwriter Don McLean has publicly criticized UCLA after a lifetime achievement award was rescinded because of his 2016 arrest for domestic abuse.
The 73-year-old “American Pie” star was to be presented with the George and Ira Gershwin Award by the UCLA Student Alumni Association. But it withdrew the honor “upon learning that Mr. McLean had previously been convicted of domestic violence charges,” saying it “rejects any behavior — including violence and the threat of violence.”
“This has been all over the internet for three years. Are you people morons? This is settled law,” McLean responded in a since-deleted Facebook post, calling the domestic disturbance a “squabble with my ex wife.”
The UCLA alumni group was reportedly unaware of the charges until shortly after the announcement was made.
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“Don’t ever come near me again unless you offer me an apology for the damage you have done me. I am guilty of nothing to do with assault and you had better make that clear. We live in a dark age of accusation and not law,” McLean continued.
Although he denied physically assaulting now-ex-wife Patrisha McLean, the singer pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault in 2016 as part of a plea agreement after police were called to a disturbance at his home.
The charges were dismissed in 2017 under the terms of the deal, which included staying out of trouble for a year.
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“Maybe I need to give you some bribe money to grease the college wheels,” McLean sarcastically retorted in his post, alluding to the recent college admissions scandal involving UCLA and many other top universities.
McLean’s publicist Jeremy Westby responded with a statement saying it was “publicly disrespectful and grossly humiliating to Mr McLean to issue and then rescind an award based on the supposition of any violent criminal history.”
“I am incredibly surprised and disappointed that an institution such as UCLA, having had adequate time to vet all potential award recipients, would so easily and negligently overlook something as public as what has happened to Mr. McLean and his family three years ago,” he continued.
The prize was created in 1988 in recognition of songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin, whose songs include “I Got Rhythm” and “Summertime,” and their financial contributions to UCLA.
Previous recipients include Julie Andrews, Linkin Park, The Who and Alanis Morissette.
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