Joan Jett moves to a different Macy’s float amid controversy


Joan Jett decided to voluntarily switch herself to another Macy’s float. Macy’s agreed, but did not initiate the switch. None of the articles I have read have disputed this fact outright, yet nearly ALL of the headlines provided have misled their readers by claiming that Macy’s actively “booted” her from the South Dakota float, and a few have gone as far as saying that Macy’s removed Joan from the entire parade lineup. Neither is true. (CNN and Billboard are particularly guilty of this.) Here is Joan’s full statement from Friday (via the Associated Press as published on–which I have not seen in its entirety until today:

I’ve decided to switch from South Dakota to another float because people’s political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment driven event. I will remain focused on entertaining the millions of people watching, who will be celebrating a great American tradition. — Joan Jett

And here is Macy’s FULL statement as published on keloland.comnote that they are still excited to have Joan in their lineup. Again, most outlets are only publishing the first part and ignoring the “we are honored to host Joan” part (emphasis added by me):

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is solely about entertainment. The Parade has never taken on, promoted or otherwise engaged in social commentary, political debate or other forms of advocacy, no matter how worthy. Macy’s intention is only to provide a range of entertaining elements and performers free of endorsements or agendas. With that in mind and to prevent any further distraction from our entertainment mission, the Macy’s Parade team is happy to confirm that the legendary Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will grace our line-up on a different float, ready to bring millions of spectators an incredible performance on Thanksgiving Day. All parties have decided to move forward with a new performer for the South Dakota float,  to be announced at a later date. We are honored to have Joan Jett and the Blackhearts as a part of this year’s festivities.

According to Jett’s publicist, the decision to move floats was made by the entertainer, not by Macy’s.

Read the rest of the article here–but take note of the inaccurate headline:


I typically hate parades. But this year, I will watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ONLY because Joan Jett is performing in it. I do not care what other crap is on her float, because I will not be looking at it. I will watch Joan Jett and the Blackhearts perform a song from their brand-new album, Unvarnished, and it will be the BEST. THANKSGIVING. EVER. Thank you.


Read my original report of the controversy below the hearts.




South Dakota ranchers have a serious beef with Joan Jett

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Joan’s vegetarianism sparked controversy on Tuesday when multiple media outlets reported the South Dakota cattle industry’s fury over her selection as a performer on the state’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float. They do not think that a vegetarian should represent a state known for its livestock agriculture. At one point, it was a major trending topic on Yahoo!

South Dakota’s secretary of tourism Jim Hagen initially defended Joan’s selection in the Rapid City Journal:

“For us, it’s not about the talent on the float,” he said. “It’s about having Mt. Rushmore featured before 3 million live viewers … more than 100 million people around the world who are seeing that float…”

So far publicity for Jett’s appearance on the float has emphasized her status as a rock music legend.

Hagen said Jett is a rock legend especially in the generation that the state hopes to attract as tourists.

“The feedback through the years has just been immensely positive about the float and South Dakota as a vacation destination,” he said. “I don’t know the personal opinions and viewpoints of a lot of these artists.”

“She holds views that I don’t, but there are a lot of people who love her as an artist,” Hagen said. “It puts the focus on Mt. Rushmore and South Dakota.”

Among Jett’s fan base are some of Hagen’s staff. One has seen several of her concerts in South Dakota, he said.

“[Macy’s] would never ever do anything that would be distasteful,” he said. “They run a great parade and they are just top notch people, so I don’t worry about that at all.”

But the controversy continued to build, and Hagen’s support began to wane (from CBS News):

South Dakota Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen said many people have mistakenly assumed state officials selected Jett to appear on the float. None of the artists the state proposed were available or willing to appear in the parade, so Macy’s selected Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, he said.

“It’s not because of any ill will Macy’s is trying to create or anything,” Hagen said. “They were just trying to do what they thought would be a great artist for us.”

Also from CBS News:

Kristen Foster, a spokeswoman for Jett, said that Jett has played in South Dakota countless times and is a fan of the state. Jett just accepted a gracious offer to appear on South Dakota’s float, she said.

Joan will perform on a different float

Thankfully, the folks at Macy’s understand that Thanksgiving is a celebration of togetherness, not a forum for political agendas. They have not kicked The Blackhearts out of the parade, they are just moving them to a different float. From the News Tribune:

Rocker Joan Jett says she’s stepping off South Dakota’s float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade because political agendas are getting in the way of a fun event.

Macy’s says everyone agreed it was best to replace Jett with someone else. She’ll move to another float.

In her statement Friday, Jett says she’ll focus on entertaining the millions of people who will watch what she calls a great American tradition.

Read more here:

See more information about the Macy’s parade route and lineup from Macy’s site HERE.

Much ado about nothing

The fact is, South Dakota had nothing to worry about. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is probably the most unpolitical event on television all year. No one would have mentioned Joan’s vegetarianism or made that connection. Joan has fans all over the world, including South Dakota, and all she wants to do is make them happy, playing the brand of rock and roll that only she can deliver. She would never use the parade as a forum to discuss her political views. I’ve seen her perform at rib fests for heaven’s sake! If she was pissed off at cattle ranchers she would have quietly turned down the offer to perform and we would have heard NOTHING about it. But thanks for the free publicity for Joan’s new album, Unvarnished, South Dakota! Available on iTunes and in stores now!

Regardless of this silly controversy, I genuinely hope the folks in South Dakota, and everywhere in the nation, have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones, whether you are vegans, carnivores, or something in-between. {{{HUGS}}}.

And a big THANK YOU to Macy’s for helping to quell this nonsense and allowing the Blackhearts to move to another float. The Jettheads will be watching! 🙂

Joan, can I make a request?

On Thanksgiving, please play “Different” instead of “Any Weather” in the parade – it fits better now. 🙂

Live your life outside the box, blow off all the empty talk

They focus on the things you’re not, Joan! Just walk your walk!

3 thoughts on “Joan Jett moves to a different Macy’s float amid controversy

  1. It’s Thanksgiving and I’m thankful to call myself a Joan Jett Fan and Jetthead. I’m thankful to be the fan of a woman with such character, strength, diginity and nobility. She is a true american icon, she represents what working hard and being devoted to something means. Such utter Respect I have for her.

  2. Pingback: VID & PICS: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade | Born to be Jetthead

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