Singer Don McLean is firing back at The Student Alumni Association at UCLA after the group rescinded an honor he was to receive over a 2016 domestic violence incident.
McLean had been chosen to receive the George and Ira Gershwin Award for lifetime musical achievement on May 17 at Pauley Pavilion. Past recipients have included Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews and James Taylor.
But the organization changed its mind after learning of a 2016 case in which the 73-year-old McLean pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault against his now-ex-wife Patrisha McLean. The charges were dismissed in 2017 under the terms of a plea deal, which included staying out of trouble for a year, according to BBC News.
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"The Student Alumni Association at UCLA has rescinded its decision to present Don McLean with the 2019 George and Ira Gershwin Award," the group said in a statement on its web site. "The decision to rescind the award was made by SAA's Spring Sing Executive Committee upon learning that Mr. McLean had previously been convicted of domestic violence charges. The award was to be presented at the annual 'Spring Sing' show in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom on May 17. SAA rejects any behavior -- including violence and the threat of violence in all its forms -- that does not uphold the True Bruin Values. We extend our support to survivors of domestic violence."
The singer of 1971's classic folk-rock anthem "American Pie" did not take the news well.
"Dear UCLA," McLean wrote in a Facebook post Monday. "You awarded me your George and Ira Gershwin life time achievement award and then took it back because you found out about my squabble with my ex wife. This has been all over the internet for 3 years. Are you people morons? This is settled law. Maybe I need to give you some bribe money to grease the college wheels. Don't ever come near me again unless you offer me an apology for the damage you have done me. I am guilty of nothing to do with assault and you had better make that clear. We live in a dark age of accusation and not law."
The "bribe money" remark is an apparent reference to the nationwide college admissions scandal in which parents, coaches and administrators at several prominent colleges — including UCLA — are accused of using bribery and other forms of fraud to secure the admission of students.