Dolly Parton Explains Why She Kept Kid Rock Duet on ‘Rockstar’ Despite His Anti-Trans Meltdown

With all the anger over Kid Rock being part of Dolly Parton’s upcoming rock album, the country music icon wants more peace, love and understanding.

“I try to look for that innocence and that purity in everybody else,” Parton, 77, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Thursday, November 2. “Just like I did a song with Kid Rock on this album [Rockstar]. Of course, I did that before the controversy that he had, but somebody was talking to me the other day, ‘How could you do this [song] with Kid?’ I said, ‘Hey, just because I love you don’t mean I don’t love Kid Rock. Just because I love Kid Rock don’t mean I don’t love you.’ I don’t condemn or criticize. I just accept and love.”

Parton’s “controversy” comment seemingly referred to a viral video that showed Rock, 52, shooting several cases of Bud Light beer with a gun. “F–k Bud Light, and f–k Anheuser-Busch,” he said before flipping the bird at the camera. Rock didn’t explain the reason why he abused the beer cases, but the video came amid calls for a boycott of Anheuser-Busch after the company teamed up with Dylan Mulvaney — an openly trans woman who is the activist and personality behind the “365 Days of Girlhood” TikTok series — for an ad.

Rock’s inclusion on Parton’s upcoming Rockstar album (he sings with her on the track “Either Or”) angered the LGBTQ+ community following his anti-trans meltdown. “I had done that before [the controversy], but I’d have probably still done it,” she told THR, “because he is a gifted guy, and that song was about a bad boy; it was about a boy that was cheating and mistreating her.”

“But like I say, I love everybody,” she continued. “I don’t criticize, I don’t condone nor condemn. I just accept them. But anyhow, just because I love you don’t mean I don’t love Kid Rock in that God way.”

Earlier in the interview, Parton was asked about Tennessee’s governor signing a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth (the Human Rights Campaign noted the state has passed 15 anti-LGBTQ+ laws since 2015). While Parton said she just wants everyone to “be treated good,” she also noted that she avoids “get[ting] into the politics of everything.”

“I try to get into the human element of it,” she explained. In the interview, she spoke about facing judgment from the church, how “they thought I was trash, they thought I was a whore, that I was going to hell in a hand basket just for being young and dressing the way I did.” That experience, she said, has helped her become more forgiving and less judgmental.

This isn’t to say she has turned a blind eye to the pain the LGBTQ+ community has faced in recent years. “I have some of everybody in my own immediate family and in my circle of employees,” Parton told THR. “I’ve got transgender people. I’ve got gays. I’ve got lesbians. I’ve got drunks. I’ve got drug addicts — all within my own family. I know and love them all, and I do not judge. And I just see how brokenhearted they get over certain things, and I know how real they are.”



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