Country singer Jason Aldean performed an emotional tribute to the victims of the massacre in Las Vegas and late rock legend Tom Petty on Saturday Night Live, leaving longtime Trump supporter Dana White furious.
Aldean, who was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when a gunman opened fire on the 22,000-person crowd, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500, opened SNL this weekend in a somber moment in honor of the victims.
“Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night, and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal,” Aldean said. “So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends. They’re all part of our family. So I want to say to them: We hurt for you, and we hurt with you. You can be sure that we’re going to walk through these tough times together, every step of the way. When America is at its best, our bond and our spirit, it’s unbreakable.”
Aldean then performed Petty’s hit “I Won’t Back Down,” in honor of the rock legend who died the day after the shooting after going into cardiac arrest.
It was an emotional moment to cap off a heartbreaking week and many were moved by SNL’s decision to scrap the jokes in the cold open. UFC President Dana White, who supported Trump and spoke at the Republican National Convention last summer, saw things differently.
According to TMZ Sports, White was “furious” with Aldean, claiming that the singer’s team lied to him.
White claims that the UFC tried to book Aldean to sing the national anthem in Las Vegas for UFC 216 Saturday. The event featured 15 survivors of the massacre and hundreds of first responders in the crowd.
But Aldean’s team turned down the offer, saying that he was still shaken up and might never perform live again, according to White.
After seeing that Aldean had flown to New York to perform on SNL instead, White flipped out.
“His image was more important than coming back to Vegas and playing for the people who are his fans and who got shot watching him play,” White told TMZ Sports.
“F*ck you Jason Aldean. Stay out of Vegas,” he said.
White also lashed out at country musicians in general after revealing that he was turned down by every country star the organization tried to book.
“Country music was attacked. Those were country music fans. Those are people who buy your albums and none of you country music people could sing the anthem in front of survivors and first responders? This isn’t about money,” White told TMZ. “This is about the bad ass people who fought through this sh*t that this coward did.”
Aldean did return to Las Vegas Sunday to meet with victims of the attack, ABC News reports.
His wife, Brittany Aldean, posted a photo of the couple on the tarmac to Instagram, writing that it “feels surreal being back in Vegas today.”
“Visiting some of the strongest people we have ever met… fighting the toughest battle of them all… for their lives,” she wrote. “You have helped us try to begin the healing process by seeing the strength each one of you have. Thank you for today. We will never forget. #vegasstrong.”
Feels surreal being back in Vegas today. Visiting some of the strongest people we have ever met… fighting the toughest battle of them all… for their lives. You have helped us try to begin the healing process by seeing the strength each one of you have. Thank you for today. We will never forget. #vegasstrong 🙌🏼