Detroit's Little Caesars Arena severs ties with Kid Rock. Who didn't see this coming?

click to enlarge Bye-witaba da bang, da dang diggy diggy, diggy, said the boogie, said up jump the boogie... to Kid Rock's Made in Detroit restaurant. - Lee DeVito
Lee DeVito
Bye-witaba da bang, da dang diggy diggy, diggy, said the boogie, said up jump the boogie... to Kid Rock's Made in Detroit restaurant.

Things haven't been going well for Kid Rock lately.

Less than a week after the performer went on a drunken and allegedly not racist (according to him, anyway) tirade against Oprah Winfrey in Nashville, Ilitch Holdings — which manages Detroit's Little Caesars Arena — announced it was parting ways with Kid Rock's Made in Detroit restaurant.

The company announced the split on Wednesday, saying Kid Rock "voluntarily decided not to renew" his leasing agreement in April. The restaurant opened when the arena did in 2017.

Ilitch Holidngs released a statement to The Detroit News saying that the company "(looks) forward to bringing on an exciting new concept that aligns with our community and company values."

“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. 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.”

Kid Rock released a statement of his own suggesting that if the restaurant relocates, it won't be in the Motor City.

"I appreciate all who have patronized our place and 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 ago, go where you're celebrated, not tolerated," he wrote. "I guess the millions of dollars I pumped into that town was not enough. I will let the NAN network and others go ahead and take the wheel now. Good luck."

NAN refers to the activist group National Action Network, which planned to hold a press conference in front of the restaurant on Wednesday "to discuss and respond to questions about the reprehensible tirade directed at Oprah Winfrey and others by Kid Rock." NAN's Sam Riddle told The Detroit News that he didn't think the split was voluntary and believed it was due to pressure from NAN, which previously pushed for General Motors to cut ties with Kid Rock due to his use of the Confederate flag on stage.

In his statement, Kid Rock continued to insist he is not racist.

"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 disservice to the black community, which I have supported my entire life, by trying to alienate myself and many others," he wrote, adding, "PS - Hey Al Sharpton, you or your cronies will never beat me you tax evading, race baiting clown!"

And then, for good measure:

"Trump 2020!!"

Kid Rock's relationship with Ilitch Holdings was rocky from the get-go. In addition to opening the restaurant at the arena, which was subsidized by taxpayers, Kid Rock was booked as its first musical performer, playing a string of six dates. At the time, he also claimed to be running for Senate.

"Kid Rock is a disgrace. Why is he first act of Little Caesars Arena?" Bridge magazine asked. The Free Press' Stephen Henderson wrote, "Having Kid Rock open this arena is erecting a sturdy middle finger to Detroiters — nothing less."

The first performance was met with a protest organized by NAN, which also drew a sizable pro-Kid Rock counter-protest. And during his shows, Kid Rock gave a sort of political stump speech in which he railed against "deadbeat dads" and transgender people. Later, he admitted it was all a joke, but not before spurring an investigation into whether he was violating campaign finance laws by selling "Kid Rock for Senate" merch.

In response to the backlash, Olympia Entertainment, the Ilitch Holdings subsidiary that runs the arena, defended its relationship with Kid Rock. "Kid Rock has been a consistent supporter of Detroit, and the marketplace has responded accordingly to his appearances," the company wrote in a statement. "Performing artists' viewpoints in no way represent an endorsement of those viewpoints by Olympia Entertainment."

It seems they have changed their mind about that, perhaps due to Kid Rock's increasingly belligerent behavior.

Last year, he called The View's Joy Behar a "bitch" while swigging whiskey on Fox & Friends at his Kid Rock's Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N' Roll Steakhouse in Nashville, after she said she believed President Donald Trump should resign. In response, Kid Rock was booted from his role as the grand marshal of Nashville's Christmas parade.

Earlier this year, Kid Rock took a misogynistic swipe at fellow Nashville musician Taylor Swift, who has recently become to voice her political opinions after years of staying neutral.

"Taylor Swift wants to be a Democrat because she wants to be in movies... period," he tweeted. "And it looks like she will suck the door knob off Hollyweird to get there. Oldest move in the book. Good luck girl."

In November, Kid Rock took to the stage at his Big Ass Honky Tonk to rant against Oprah.

"I'm not a bad guy," he slurred. "I'm just an honest guy that says, 'Hey, I don't like Oprah Winfrey or Joy Behar. They can suck dick sideways.'"

He added, "And if you say that, they're like, 'Hey, well, pretty sure Kid Rock's a racist.' I'm like, OK, fine."

In a video of the incident, Kid Rock appears to be so drunk that security has to remove him from the stage.

And now, it appears Kid Rock's actions have cost him his restaurant. (We didn't really like it, anyway.) Good luck, Kid.

Kid Rock's full statement is below:

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland “Lee” DeVito is the editor in chief of Detroit Metro Times since 2016. His writing has also been published in CREEM, VICE, In These Times, and New City. He once asked porn star Stormy Daniels to spank him with an issue of Metro Times. She obliged.

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