Don McLean, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002, is furious about a recent insult from UCLA. Only hours after receiving the George and Ira Gershwin Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday, it was rescinded claiming they had just learned of a domestic violence incident from three years earlier.
McLean took to Facebook in a since deleted post asking “Dear UCLA … Are you people morons?”
After implying that the university makes decisions based on who funds them, McLean demanded an apology and finished with the comment “We live in a dark age of accusation and not law.”
McLean followed up with a second post, also now deleted, indicating that he had obtained proof that he was innocent of the domestic violence charge, though he had taken a plea deal at the time. He posed the question of how long a person is supposed to be punished for past actions.
That is a valid question and important question.
McLean had been arrested in January 2016 following a heated break down of his 30 year relationship with his former wife Patrisha. She filed for divorce shortly afterwards citing “adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences.”
The plea deal allowed McLean to avoid possible jail time and move on with his life after paying a fine and completing probation. If McLean now has evidence that he wasn’t guilty of the charges it won’t negate the plea deal he entered into but it could help in the court of public opinion.
That the Facebook posts are now deleted suggests that Don McLean has been given advice to reconsider his approach and wait until his anger subsides. Though the replies on Facebook were mostly positive, Twitter was not so kind.
The amount of time it takes for people to put the past in the past and offer redemption seems to depend on what social media platform you are using. Even if McLean was to offer evidence that he never abused his ex-wife it’s unlikely those who continue to condemn him would even care.
In his second post McLean had suggested that we put a moratorium on awards until institutions start standing behind their decisions. That seems to be the biggest social misstep in the fiasco.
However UCLA now feels about Don McLean’s past, for an esteemed university they’ve shown they shouldn’t rank high on research.