As though Tim McGraw’s decision to pull out of the show and Jamie Foxx’s on-stage rant weren’t enough, there was even more drama backstage at last night’s Academy of Country Music Awards, when Toby Keith entered the press room and decided to take a little personal time to holler at Tennessean writer Peter Cooper about a blog post he’d written over the weekend.
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Some quick background: Actor Ethan Hawke wrote a story about Kris Kristofferson in this month’s Rolling Stone (it’s not online), in which he told of witnessing a near-altercation between Kristofferson and a country star who, as Hawke put it, then had “a monster hit about bombing America’s enemies back into the Stone Age.” Cooper used that tidbit to write a blog item in which he declared that country star could be none other than Toby Keith — or, as he called him, “Moby Teeth.” Both Kris and Toby/Moby took issue with Cooper’s item, the former writing Cooper a very nice letter explaining he couldn’t recall the incident at all, and the latter using his moment before every reporter at the ACMs to drop about a thousand f-bombs on Cooper… who was bravely seated in the very front row.
You can read Cooper’s take and Kristofferson’s letter on the Tennessean blog; HitFix’s Melinda Newman has a great run-down of the press room play-by-play on her site. Rolling Stone is standing by their story. Ethan Hawke is, as of right now, not responding to requests for comment. But I emailed Cooper today to ask if he had any further response, and he sent the following:
“Rolling Stone is standing by its story and its fact-checking. I never reported anything, only ran a celeb item pointing people to the Rolling Stone story, with some humor, and Toby seemed more upset wth me than with Rolling Stone. Odd. I felt ill-equipped for the conversation, mostly because of my choice of manly footwear. Next time I will wear running shoes.”