Benton Blount, a former America’s Got Talent competitor who had been tapped to open for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons’ tour, is without a job — and was banned for 24 hours from Facebook — for a post in which he wore a “Make America Great Again” hat and held a Chick-Fil-A sandwich.
As The Greenville News reports, the South Carolina native, who competed on Season 10 of the popular NBC variety show, had been tapped to open for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons on his tour. Blount had completed four shows of his seven-show commitment, but when he arrived in Atlanta for his gig last week, security told him at the door that he was no longer a part of the tour. He also says that “Gibbons’ management” confirmed that he was no longer on the tour, but that he has not heard from Gibbons himself.
So what got Blount pulled off from the tour? He believes that it was a Facebook post, according to the State, and his ensuing 24-hour ban from the social media site.
In a post that has since been deleted, Blount wore a white-on-red “Make America Great Again” hat, which has become something of a symbol of the Trump administration. He also held a sandwich and drink from Chick-Fil-A, a fast-food chain that has, in the past, donated money to anti-LGBTQ and other conservative causes.
— Kim Stamey (@kimberlysjoy) November 8, 2018
He captioned it with a joke about the post being offensive.
“Someone reading this just got offended multiple times. My work here is done! #Vote.”
Blount says that the post got him sent to “Facebook jail” — that is, banned from the site for 24 hours — for violating its “community standards.” It’s not clear what it was about Blount’s post that violated Facebook’s standards, as it contains no nudity, no hate speech, and no incitement to violence.
Further, Blount’s Facebook page is filled with pro-Trump and anti-Democrat posts which still remain.
Nevertheless, Blount believes that it was his post — in conjunction with his Facebook ban — that got him kicked off of the tour.
“Drove down here [Atlanta] from Greenville, South Carolina to the venue. I get a call from my friend from California who informs me that not only have I been banned from Facebook but as a result from being banned from Facebook I was pulled off of the Billy Gibbons tour, effectively immediately.”
As of this writing, Billy Gibbons has not responded to repeated requests for comment.