The wonderful news is that American Idol judge Luke Bryan plans to donate a large chunk of his Estero, Florida concert proceeds to the Florida Disaster Fund in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
However, the country music star irked a bunch of fans. While announcing the donation at his Friday night Jacksonville concert, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis popped up on stage to yuck it up with the country singer. As Desantis strode on stage, he threw campaign merch out to the roaring crowd before delivering a self-aggrandizing campaign speil.
Currently DeSantis is in the midst of a heated battle to retain the governorship with Democrat Charlie Crist. Election day is next Tuesday, November 8. An appearance on stage this close to election day is basically an in-kind campaign contribution, provided by Luke.
The blowback was so hard, that Luke posted a response on social media:
“I typically don’t respond to stuff when I’m getting run down on a social platform but here’s the deal,” Luke wrote. “I understand Governor Desantis is a very polarizing figure. But I grew up in a country where if a governor ask you if they can come and raise awareness to help victims of a natural disaster you help.”
Luke continued, “I’ve generally stayed out of politics throughout my career. I knew people would chatter about this but for me the more important piece was If I am going to come back there a few weeks after a large portion of people have been affected by a natural disaster in a state where people have been good to me this felt right.”
“Raise awareness, have a little fun between the GA and FL college fans before the game and do what I love on stage,” Luke finished, “This is all I am saying about this. I’ll be outdoors with my boys. Enjoy your Sunday. Love y’all #GoDawgs.”
Donate to Florida disaster relief by texting disaster to 20222
Watch Luke and DeSantis yuck it up on stage Friday night. DeSantis tosses campaign merch to the crowd. And then he basically launches into a campaign spiel on stage. And Luke wonders why some fans are pissed. If it were even a year ago, it would be a different story. Still annoying to those on the left, but Luke would have a sound argument.
The bottom line is that Luke could have donated to Florida hurricane relief without involving DeSantis, but he chose not to do that.
@kati_lovinlb Luke Bryan bringing out Governor DeSantis in Jacksonville @lukebryan #raiseduprighttour #desantis #floridavsgeorgia #vystararena #lukebryan #godawgs ? original sound – Kati
Luke announces that he’ll be donating a large portion of his Estero, Florida concert proceeds to Florida Disaster Relief.
“Because of the hurricane they had to use the venue that I was performing in as a shelter. Well, we’ve been going back and forth, we didn’t know if it was too soon to play or not but the area of Estero said ‘get your a** to Estero.’ So, we’re doing a concert,” Bryan shared from the stage. “So, what we’re going to do is give a large portion of the proceeds in Estero, Florida… to everybody that’s bought tickets, kept the ticket, and spending the money… I’m donating that money to the great state of Florida.”
@kati_lovinlb Luke Bryan gave Governor DeSantis a Georgia Bulldogs jersey after bringing him out tonight in Jacksonville ?? #lukebryan #jacksonvilleflorida #georgiabulldogs #desantis #vystararena #raiseduprighttour #godawgs @lukebryan ? original sound – Kati
“Will you stand with a group of immigrants that DeSantis has vilified?”
Some of the responses to Luke’s social media message point out that DeSantis is responsible for the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which basically disallows teachers from talking about LGBTQ topics in the classroom. He’s also pulled several political stunts. For instance, he spent millions of dollars to fly hapless Venezuelan refugees from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard without telling anyone, including social services in Massachusetts. The refugees were led to believe they would receive money and jobs once they landed.
Also, Desanted former prisoners who believed they had the right to vote. The registered, voted, and then the police showed up at their homes to take them back into custody. The issue is a poll tax Florida instituted to keep former felons from voting legally. The arrested indivduals truly believed they had the right to vote.
A sample of responses from upset fans
You have to understand your visibility and be careful who you associate with. Will you stand with a group of immigrants that DeSantis has vilified? Or families of gun violence?
— italia54 (@italia54) October 30, 2022
I see where you’re coming from. You have fans that are members of LGBTQ+ community. It would be nice for you to consider their feelings as well. Enjoy your day.
— Laura Parks (@LauraRadgirl13) October 30, 2022
Nah you could have just invited FEMA instead of being buddy buddy with this fascist. You showed your colors and everyone is intitled to their opinion and beliefs. Just as this gay woman is intitled to being utterly disappointed in you and hitting the unfollow button.
— Leonie van der Kolk (@Leonie1970) October 30, 2022
But you didn’t stay out of politics. You gave this man a stage and his policies are wrong. Do better
— b watson (@WyomingBecky) October 30, 2022
It was not to raise awareness for the hurricane, but for his re-election campaign, which you seem happy to support. And that makes it look like you support all his fascist policies, including hating gay people. The country we were raised in has changed cuz of people like him.
— Courtney (@CourtneyinOH) October 30, 2022
“I understand Governor DeSantis is a very polarizing figure” …. except that apparently you don’t, or are playing like you don’t.
No, this wasn’t about disaster relief.
It was about DeSantis.
— Tom F (@Period_Comedy) October 30, 2022
But there are plenty of fans supporting Luke as well.
You have a heart of gold @lukebryan you will always have me as a fan. So tired of politics… streaming your music and supporting you always
— Britni Goad (@CarrieLukeBfan) October 30, 2022
I love you SO MUCH, Luke. Your true fans know your heart and what you are all about. Enjoy your family and ignore all the haters. Social media is ridiculous.
— Brittt-SETH IS CHAMPION (@brittylovesluke) October 30, 2022
Hell yes! Stand your ground!! The fans you lose, you didn’t need anyway…
— Mary Margaret Banner (@banner_margaret) October 30, 2022
God Bless you Luke Bryan! Gov DeSantis is loved by more than hate him and we realize this was just for Hurricane relief. Don’t let the haters get you down.
— Nancy Longbottom (@NancyLongbotto3) October 30, 2022
Sorry I did not know your music before last nigh! Today, after your show and the presentation of Desantis, I now know you, I love your music and will applaud you wherever you go!! ?????????
— Rosa Curubo (@RCurubo) October 30, 2022