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Controversial rocker Ted Nugent responds to McHenry County Fair controversy

Ted Nugent performs July 24, 2016, during the Sonic Baptizm Tour at Atlanta Symphony Hall  in Atlanta.
Ted Nugent performs July 24, 2016, during the Sonic Baptizm Tour at Atlanta Symphony Hall in Atlanta.

Controversial rock artist Ted Nugent has responded to backlash surrounding an upcoming performance at the McHenry County Fair.

“Only liars and America hating scumbags have a problem with me,” Nugent wrote in a Facebook post on his page that shared a Northwest Herald article about the controversy. “My spirit irritates their demons!”

In a separate Facebook post that compared Democrats to Nazis, Nugent reiterated the statement after a commenter brought up the fair.

“My spirit irritates their demons,” he said. “The more upset [expletives] are the richer my life.”

Farther down, a commenter wrote: “It will be a target friendly enviroment for sure,” apparently referencing the fair.

“Not target friendly Target rich,” [sic] Nugent said in response.

The McHenry County Fair Association announced earlier this month that Nugent will headline the county fair. Some residents said they will boycott the event because of the selection. Kristina Zahorik, chairwoman of the Democratic Party for McHenry County, also criticized the choice.

Nugent, 70, is a conservative activist and member of the National Rifle Association who has provoked controversy before, both from his political views and content of some songs, such as “Jailbait.” The lyrics of “Jailbait” include “Well, I don’t care if you’re just 13. You look too good to be true.”

Jeff Kleinschmidt, who the association hired for talent acquisition this year, said he knew Nugent was a controversial figure but didn’t anticipate such widespread pushback.

“Never in my wildest fantasy did I realize there would be this much of a backlash,” he said.

He said Nugent was chosen because of his music, period.

“He is an iconic ’70s artist whose music is widely played today,” Kleinschmidt said. “First and foremost, this is a rock concert. Unfortunately, it has turned into a political debate.”

There are no plans to cancel the show, he said.

“We are contractually obligated to Ted Nugent,” he said.

Kleinschmidt wouldn’t say how much Nugent is charging for the concert.

The county fair will take place from July 30 to Aug. 4 at the fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road in Woodstock. Tickets for the Nugent concert start at $15 and are available at mchenrycountyfair.com, according to the McHenry County Fair Facebook page. Femmes of Rock and Freebird USA also will be performing.

Calls and an email inquiry to the McHenry County Fair Association’s office haven’t been returned.

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