Joan Jett was recently selected to perform on the South Dakota float during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, some people aren’t exactly thrilled with her involvement.
Since many folks feel that the animal rights activist and vegetarian doesn’t properly represent the state, some critics have lashed out at Joan Jett’s appearance on the Mount Rushmore American Pride float. According to E! Online, this includes several ranchers and a senator.
However, South Dakota state Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen stands by his decision. Although he doesn’t share many of the same beliefs as Joan Jett, he feels her involvement will draw attention to the float. At the end of the day, this is all that really matters to Hagen.
He told the Rapid City Journal:
“For us, it’s not about the talent on the float. It’s about having Mount Rushmore featured before 3 million live viewers… more than 100 million people around the world who are seeing that float. She holds views that I don’t, but there are a lot of people who love her as an artist,” Hagen added. “It puts the focus on Mount Rushmore and South Dakota.”
CBS News reports that Hagen is hoping Joan Jett will draw a younger generation to South Dakota. The publication reports that the state paid $175,000 to have a float in the parade, $5,000 of which when to the artist. Hagen wants to use Jett’s popularity to increase tourism.
Although Hagen doesn’t have a problem with Joan Jett’s participation with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Senator Larry Rhoden believes the singer doesn’t properly represent South Dakota or the agriculture industry as a whole.
South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association executive director Jodie Anderson seems to agree with the senator’s sentiments regarding Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
“South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association is very concerned that the South Dakota float would be featuring a prominent vegetarian on the Thanksgiving Parade float. We hope that future floats would support not only the tourism industry but also agriculture,” she said.
Not surprisingly, the controversy surrounding Joan Jett and her involvement with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade drew the attention of the folks at PETA. Senior vice president Dan Matthews address the state’s issues in a recent email to reporters.
“We’re surprised that ranchers want to draw attention to themselves by being crybabies over the appearance of a vegetarian icon such as Joan Jett on the state’s float,” Matthews said.
Despite the controversy surrounding her involvement, CBS News explains that Jett is just happy to be a part of the event. Spokeswoman Kristen Foster said the singer has played in South Dakota numerous times over the years and is a big fan of the state.
Do you think Joan Jett should perform on the South Dakota float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Does she properly represent the state?
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]