[Updated]: Mike Huckabee Resigns From CMA Foundation Board Following Industry Backlash

[Updated, March 2]:

Former CMA Foundation Board member Mike Huckabee published his full resignation letter on his official site Friday morning (March 2), after it was announced that he had resigned from the CMA Foundation Board following criticism from some music industry members.

“It appears that I will make history as having the shortest tenure in the history of the CMA Foundation Board,” he says in the letter, published to his official site under the title “Hate Wins.” “I genuinely regret that some in the industry were so outraged by my appointment that they bullied the CMA and the Foundation with economic threats and vowed to withhold support for the programs for students if I remained…Bullies succeeded in making it untenable to have “someone like me” involved. I would imagine however that many of the people who buy tickets and music are not that “unlike me.” I hereby tender my resignation effective immediately.  I hope this will end the unnecessary distraction and deterrent to the core mission of the Foundation which is to help kids acquire musical instruments and have an opportunity to participate in music programs as students.”

Huckabee’s full resignation letter can be read at mikehuckabee.com.

[Updated, March 1, 3:54 p.m.]: The Country Music Association (CMA) tells MusicRow that the CMA Foundation has accepted the resignation of Mike Huckabee from the CMA Foundation’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. The resignation follows a letter of protest sent yesterday (Feb. 28) from Sandbox Entertainment owner and artist manager Jason Owen to the CMA.

[Original post, March 1, 3:39 p.m. CT]:

Sandbox Entertainment owner and artist manager Jason Owen has responded to the CMA Foundation’s recent appointment of former Governor Mike Huckabee to its board. The letter indicates that Owen—in addition to the artists affiliated with his Sandbox Entertainment management firm or his recently renewed Monument Records—will no longer support the CMA Foundation. Owen’s Sandbox roster includes Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, Midland, and more, while Monument Records counts Walker Hayes and Caitlyn Smith on its roster.

MusicRow has obtained a copy of the letter, which was sent from Owen to CMA CEO Sarah Trahern, and to CMA Foundation Director of Community Outreach Tiffany Kerns (below):

Sarah and Tiffany –

It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know moving forward, Sandbox and Monument will no longer support the CMA Foundation in any way (this includes everyone we represent collectively) considering the heartbreaking news shared today regarding Mike Huckabee appointee/elected to the CMA Foundation. Further, we find it hard to support the organization as a whole as a result. As you may know I have a child and two on the way. This man has made it clear that my family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant. Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice. I will not participate in any organization that elevates people like this to positions that amplify their sick voices. This was a detrimentally poor choice by the CMA and it’s leaders. 

I only wish the best for you and I know how hard you work for the foundation but a grossly offensive decision like this only makes your job harder and diminishes the foundation’s purpose. 


As the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, the CMA Foundation supports music education programs across the United States.

Huckabee served as Governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007, and ran for President in 2008 and 2016, finishing second in the Republican primary in 2008. Huckabee is the host of Huckabee on Trinity Broadcasting Network and is a Fox News contributor.


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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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