Later this month, Dolly Parton is releasing her much-discussed rock album ROCKSTAR. Among its many, many collaborators is Kid Rock, who has long been a controversial figure due to his political views and general asshattery, much of which does not seem to align with the Dolly Parton brand. But in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Parton defended her choice to work with him.
While talking about how she tries to see the best in everyone — or as she called it, finding “the God-light in everybody” — Parton brought up her song with Kid Rock. “Of course I did [the song] before the controversy that he had, but somebody was talking to me the other day, ‘How could you do this [song] with Kid?’ I said, ‘Hey, just because I love you don’t mean I don’t love Kid Rock. Just because I love Kid Rock don’t mean I don’t love you.’ I don’t condemn or criticize. I just accept and love.”
It’s unclear exactly which Kid Rock controversy Parton is referring to — perhaps the most recent one, over the summer, when he shot up some 12-packs of Bud Light after conservatives got mad that the beer company teamed up with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney for a marketing campaign. (Not long after, Kid Rock was spotted drinking a Bud Light.)
“Like I said, I had done that before, but I’d have probably still done it, because he is a gifted guy, and that song was about a bad boy; it was about a boy that was cheating and mistreating her,” Parton continued. “But like I say, I love everybody. I don’t criticize, nor I don’t condone nor condemn. I just accept them. But anyhow, just because I love you don’t mean I don’t love Kid Rock in that God way.”
She was then asked for her thoughts on cancel culture:
I think that’s terrible. We all make mistakes. We don’t all get caught at it. But also when somebody makes a mistake, it depends on who they are. That’s what God is there for. Now, I happen to believe in God; I’m a faith-based person, so therefore I am able to see it like that. A lot of people don’t, but even still, everybody deserves a second chance. You deserve to be innocent until you’re proven guilty. Even when you’re proven guilty, if God can forgive you, so can I. If God can forgive you, we all should forgive one another.
Later on in the interview, she’s asked about her home state of Tennessee’s recent passing of bills that allow discrimination against trans people. Here’s her response to that:
Well, what I always say, “I just want everybody to be treated good.” I try not to get into the politics of everything. I try to get into the human element of it. I have some of everybody in my own immediate family and in my circle of employees. I’ve got transgender people. I’ve got gays. I’ve got lesbians. I’ve got drunks. I’ve got drug addicts — all within my own family. I know and love them all, and I do not judge.
And I just see how broken-hearted they get over certain things and I know how real they are. I know how important this is to them. That’s who they are. They cannot help that any more than I can help being Dolly Parton, you know, the way people know me. If there’s something to be judged, that is God’s business. But we are all God’s children and how we are is who we are.
The full interview is here.