The Dixie Chicks

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

What was the Accusation?

On March 10, 2003, during a concern in London, nine days before the March 19, 2003 invasion of Iraq, lead vocalist Natalie Maines of the hit country group The Dixie Chicks told the audience: “We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas.” The British audience cheered, which gave the group no reason to suspect the words might create a storm of criticism back home in the U.S. where the band was denounced by conservative talk show hosts, their albums were discarded in public protests, and radio call-ins would threaten to boycott stations that refused to stop play Dixie Chicks music.  In an interview on ABC News with Diane Sawyer a month later, Maines and her bandmates Emily Robison and Martie Maguire acknowledged that the remark was “disrespectful” and was made out of frustration.  Maines emphasized that the comment was not scripted in any way: “We don’t plan things that we’re going to say. And sometimes it backfires. We didn’t walk off the stage going, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I said that.'” Eventually, the Dixie Chicks fully rebounded from the scandal, touring the U.S. in 2015 to sold out shows across the country.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Differentiation, Mortification, Transcendence, Bolstering



Excerpts from the band’s written statement and interview with Diane Sawyer:

“We don’t plan things that we’re going to say. And sometimes it backfires. We didn’t walk off the stage going, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I said that.'”

I think it came down to that it was in a foreign country and it was that it was an off-the-cuff statement. And I think the way I said it was disrespectful. The wording I used, the way I said it, that was disrespectful. I feel regret for, you know, the choice of words. Or the non-choice of words. Am I sorry that I asked questions and that I don’t just follow? No.

“It was a lot on our shoulders, and a lot on her [Maines’] shoulders. They forget she’s a human being. She was concerned for her grandmother in Lubbock, who’s catching [flack] from all her friends, and our grandfather is catching [flack] at the nursing home. We are pretty tough and we have each other and we stand by each other through thick and thin and we know we’re going to make mistakes. But this was colossal. This felt so colossal.

“History tells us that we’re very conservative. I think it’s because we’re in country music. I don’t think it’s because we’re women. I don’t think it’s because of anything else.”

“I think our fans, and I think people who know us, and even the people who don’t know us, know that we come from a real compassionate place. Mistakes are made.”

“Accept an apology that was made. Don’t forgive us for who we are.”

We support the troops l00 percent. We have said that from day one. People have quoted we don’t support the troops, which is the opposite of anything we have ever said. There is not a correlation between not wanting a war and not supporting the troops who are doing their job.

“No, I’m not truly embarrassed that, you know, President Bush is from my state, that’s not really what I care about. It was the wrong wording with genuine emotion and questions and concern behind it.”

The people who are on our side think I was pressured. They would like to believe that I was made to apologize. They liked me until I apologized. (laughs) And then the people who didn’t like me thought that it was written by someone else and couldn’t give me credit for my own apology, and neither of those are true.


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Dixie Chicks speak out on ‘Primetime’ (2003, April 24). ABC News. Retrieved from:

Gibert, C. (2003, April 23).  Dixie Chicks talk candidly about recent controversy. CMT. Retrieved from:

Lewis, J. (2003, April 25).  No more whistlin’ Dixie: Diane Sawyer’s indecorous performance with the Dixie Chicks. Slate. Retrieved from: