Mike Huckabee resigns from country music charity over anti-LGBTQ beliefs

He claims "hate wins," but the opposite just happened.

CREDIT: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
CREDIT: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Twice-failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee resigned Thursday from the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation, less than a day after being accepted to the charity’s board.

Outcry over his virulent anti-LGBTQ beliefs prompted the separation, but despite resigning, he played the victim, claiming that “hate wins.”

Among the so-called “bullies” Huckabee references was Jason Owen, the openly gay head of Sandbox Entertainment and Monument Records. Upon Huckabee’s appointment, Owen drafted a letter to CMA CEO Sarah Trahern and CMA Foundation Director of Community Outreach Tiffany Kerns in which he called Huckabee a “shameful choice” and indicated that he and the artists he represents would be pulling their support for the organization if he remained on the board.


“As you may know I have a child and two on the way,” he wrote. “This man has made it clear that my family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant. Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is.”

In a statement Thursday, Trahern announced that the CMA Foundation had accepted Huckabee’s resignation, but made no reference to his prejudiced beliefs. “As you all know, CMA does not work with any of its Board members based on their personal or political affiliations,” she wrote. “The reason he was appointed was very mission-centric.”

Huckabee’s resignation letter was far more pointed. “I have no expectation that it will change the irrational vitriol directed toward you or me for my religious or political views that necessitated my abrupt departure,” he wrote, “but I want you to know what you would never know by reading intolerant and vicious statements on the internet about who I am or what led me to want to be a part of your efforts to empower kids with the gift of music.”

After opining at length about the difference music made in his life and his record of supporting music education, Huckabee swiped, “If the industry doesn’t want people of faith or who hold conservative and traditional political views to buy tickets and music, they should be forthcoming and say it.” He ironically insisted that the arts should be inclusive, not polarizing. “All of us have deep passions about our beliefs. I do about mine. But I hate no one. I wish upon NO ONE the loss of life or livelihood because that person sees things differently than me.”

But Huckabee’s anti-LGBTQ record couldn’t be more divisive. He previously compared same-sex couples adopting children to legalizing drug use, incest, and polygamy. In 2014, he claimed that opposing LGBTQ equality was about being on “the right side of the Bible.” After the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, he called on his fellow anti-LGBTQ Christians to engage in civil disobedience and refuse to recognize same-sex couples’ marriages regardless of what the law requires. He has likewise defended vendors who wish to refuse to sell the same products to gay customers they sell to straight customers, illogically comparing nondiscrimination protections to forcing a Jewish deli to “start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp.”


Huckabee also rejects transgender equality, reinforcing the myth that transgender people somehow pose a threat to others. “Now I wish somebody had told me when I was in high school,“ he quipped in 2015, “that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in P.E. I’m pretty sure I would’ve found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’” Last year he made a rather distasteful joke referencing the 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry about Brandon Teena, a young man who was murdered for being trans:

The internet responded to the tweet by raising $27,000 for Trans Lifeline.

Friday morning, Huckabee’s daughter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, defender her father’s record. The Fox & Friends crew described him as simply being “so conservative,” and Sanders called it “a great loss for the industry.”

Friday morning, Mike Huckabee made his own joke on Twitter referencing the Trump administration.