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Kid Rock not renewing his restaurant license at Little Caesars Arena -- Updated
Amidst a new controversy, Kid Rock is getting out of the restaurant business in Detroit.
Both Rock and Olympia Development of Michigan confirmed Wednesday morning, Dec. 4, that the Romeo-born rocker has "voluntarily" elected not to renew the licensing agreement for his Kid Rock's Made in Detroit restaurant and store in Little Caesar's Arena -- which Rock opened with six concerts during September of 2017.
In a statement Ilitch Holdings group president for Sports and Entertainment Chris Granger said that, "We have been in contact with Kid Rock. He has voluntarily decided not to renew his licensing agreement for the Kid Rock's Made in Detroit restaurant which comes up for renewal in April."
In a Facebook post, Rock expressed appreciation to "all who have patronized our place" but voiced anger about criticism that's come in the wake of a recent drunken tirade in Nashville in which he made crude and sexually explicit remarks about Orpah Winfrey, Joy Behar and Kathie Lee Gifford.
"Still have much love for the City of Detroit and the people/organizations that I have helped there for years, black white, whatever, but learned long go go where you're celebrated not tolerated," Rock wrote. "I guess the millions of dollars I pumped into that town was not enough. I will let the (National Action Network) and others go ahead and take the wheel now. Good luck."
The National Action Network planned a Wednesday protest in front of Rock's restaurant, which faces Woodward Avenue on the arena's east side. The group also protested Rock's performances opening the arena during September of 2017.
Rock further writes that, "I may be guilty of being a loud mouth jerk at times, but trying to label me racist is a joke and actually only does a disserve to the black community, which I have supported my entire life, by trying to alienate myself and many others. Rock was honored by the Detroit branch of the NAACP in 2011 and has a bi-racial son as well as black and female members of his Twisted Brown Trucker Band.
Rock also took a shot at critic Al Sharpton, saying "you or your cronies will never beat me you tax evading, race baiting clown." He also expressed his support for U.S. President Donald Trump in 2020 and dtailed some of his donations to the city, including 250,000 for the Kid Rock Community Kitchen in Eastern Market and $1 million for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as well as "many, many ore 10's if not 100's of thousands of dollars raised and donated in Detroit by Kid Rock."
The restaurant, which serves Southern-style comfort food, is one of the arena's most popular eateries, regularly packed during events. Little Caesars officials have not said what will replace it, though in his statement Granger said that, "We are in the business of amazing and inspiring our fans and guests through an incredible array of world-class sporting and live entertainment events. As our venues are open, inviting, inclusive, and respectful to all, we look forward to bringing on an exciting new concept that aligns with our community and company values."
Though the company did not reference it, the move comes in the wake of reaction to a recent drunk and profane tirade Rock (real name Robert Ritchie) delivered at his Big Honky Tonk & Steakhouse in Nashville, where he insulted and made crude sexual references about Winfrey, Behar of "The View" and K Gifford before being helped out of the venue by security. Rock and Behar also feuded last year over political issues.
Rock followed with an unapologetic social media message explaining his animosity towards Winfrey -- related to her demands "to write down 5 reasons why I love her and her show" before booking him -- and adding that, "I am just saying what a lot of people think. Not saying I should be, but sometimes I just do. Oh well. I have a bit mouth and drink too much sometimes, shocker!"
As a video of his remarks went viral, Rock -- who has a bi-racial son and black and female members in his Twisted Brown Trucker Band -- has been slammed as racist and sexist, which he denies. He's previously been criticized for using a Confederate flag backdrop during his concerts, which he abandoned some years ago, and his concert opening Little Caesars Arena during September of 2017 was protested by activist organizations.
The Michigan NAACP, which presented Rock with a Great Expectations award at its 2011 Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner, has condemned Rock's remarks as well.
Rock has gradually been shifting his base of operations to Nashville. He recently sold his home on the Detroit Riverfront and gutted his Chop House studio on his property in Clarkston, though he still maintains a home there. He also spends time in Alabama and Florida. He also operates his Made in Detroit apparel company in Oakland County.
Rock most recently performed in the metro area during September when he and Twisted Brown Trucker played four shows at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.
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