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The group even went so far as to order metal detectors for the opening dates
of its upcoming American tour, starting just a few weeks after the media frenzy
reached its zenith.
Added Robison's sister, Martie, also of the group, "I think it's rational and
totally acceptable for people to write a letter. We know that some of our fans were
shocked and upset, and we are compassionate to that. My problem is when does
it cross the line? When is trashing Emily's property okay? When is writing a
threatening letter okay?"
In an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC 's Primetime Thursday , Maines said,
"Am I sorry that I asked questions and that I didn't just follow? No. Accept the
apology that was made, but don't forgive us for who we are."
The incident was reminiscent of a similar controversy 37 years earlier, in the
spring of 1966, when John Lennon had been widely misquoted about the relative
popularity of Jesus among teenagers, as compared to that of the Beatles . As printed
in the American press, Lennon's comment was "We're more popular than Jesus
now." Widespread arguments erupted over the misreported comment, leading to
Beatles protests, boycotts, and record burnings. In Cleveland, the minister at the
New Haven Baptist Church threatened to excommunicate any parishioner who
listened to Beatles records or attended their concerts (the band was about to
embark on a large scale U.S. tour). As the controversy continued into the summer,
many radio stations dropped the group from playlists, including some who
announced they were joining the protest even though they didn't play any Beatles
music. Further, the Ku Klux Klan nailed Beatles albums to burning crosses and
legislation was introduced in Pennsylvania to prohibit the group from performing
there on their tour.
By the time of the Dixie Chicks ' May 1
American tour, opening in Greenville,
South Carolina, the backlash had died down. There were protesters at some
venues, and security was tighter than usual for a popular music concert. After the
Greenville concerts third song, Maines invited anyone who had come to boo to
get it out of their system. A few people did boo, but they were quickly drowned
out by the roar of cheers coming from the rest of the audience. The tour continued
with minor protests at several venues. After all the concerns about the tour's via-
bility in the wake of the controversy, almost every stop on the tour sold out.