These are difficult times for members of many marginalized groups, as lone bigots and members of organized hate groups are both being emboldened by online rhetoric and public policies designed to further oppress the most vulnerable members of society.
It’s a time when people in positions of power and influence should be doubly careful about avoiding language and attempts at humor that might further endanger people who are already at risk.
And it’s a time when celebrities and other public figures have a moral duty to call out members of their cohort who might be abusing their platforms.
That’s why so many are applauding country singer Maren Morris this week, after she risked alienating her fan base by speaking out against an insensitive remark from a fellow member of the country music community.
The trouble began when singer Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany Aldean, made a makeup tutorial video for Instagram.
The video itself wasn’t offensive, but Brittany’s caption contained a pointless jab at the transgender community.
“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,” Brittany wrote.
On Twitter, singer Cassadee Pope weighed in on Aldean’s insensitive remarks.
“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,” Pope tweeted.
“It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie,” replied Morris, a longtime friend an occasional collaborator of Pope’s.
“Karen Morris. Thanks for calling me Barbie,” Aldean quickly replied.
The “insurrection” remark seems to be a reference to Aldean’s defense of the January 6 rioters, and her repeated claim that the attack on the Capitol Building was perpetrated by “Antifa disguised as Trump supporters.”
It’s a belief that’s common among far-right extremists such as Candace Owens, who also replied to Maren’s tweet.
“It’s easier to not castrate your children. But I guess whatever helps sell bad records,” Owens wrote.
“Oh my god, not you. My Grammy is positively sobbing right now,” Morris shot back.
“Also, why do y’all always go to ‘castration’ and ‘pedophiles’ to try and shut an argument down? It’s honestly concerning and worth looking into.”
On Instagram, Aldean has been glorying in her first high-profile feud, taking repeated shots at both Morris and Pope.
In one post, Brittany accused Pope of advocating for genital mutilation.
“The other day Memphis wanted to be a dinosaur and tomorrow Navy will want to be a cat. They’re children,” Aldean wrote, referring to her own children.
“Some parents want to be accepted by society so badly, that they’re willing to make life-altering decisions for their children who aren’t old enough to fully comprehend the consequences of those actions,” she continued.
“Love is protecting your child until they are mature enough as an adult to make their own life decisions. Thankful my parents allowed me to go through my tom boy phase without changing my gender [sic]. Until then. Leave children alone!”
“POV: Knowing you got under someone’s skin you don’t like in the first place,” Pope wrotei in response.
And once again, Morris chimed in with a scathing take down of Aldean.
“You know, I’m glad she didn’t become a boy either because we really don’t need another a–hole dude in the world,” Maren wrote.
“Sucks when Karens try to hide their homophobia/transphobia behind their ‘protectiveness of the children.’ Weren’t they putting their kids in ‘Biden-is-a-pedo’ shirts on social media? Sounds like a real safe way to protect them from millions of eyes!” Morris continued.
“F–k all the way off to Insurrection Barbie and the fellow IB’s trolling this comment section with their hypocritical, hateful asses.”
Needless to say, it doesn’t sound like this war of words will be coming to an end anytime soon!