Last week, UCLA’s Student Alumni Association announced that they would be awarding Don McLean the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, but now they’re taking it back.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, UCLA Strategic Communications Media Relations Tod M. Tamberg said, “The decision to rescind the award was made by SAA’s Spring Sing Executive Committee upon learning that Mr. McLean had previously been convicted of domestic violence charges.”
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Tamberg added, “SAA rejects any behaviour — including violence and the threat of violence in all its forms — that does not uphold the True Bruin Values. We extend our support to survivors of domestic violence.”
In July 2016, the “American Pie” singer was arrested at his home in Maine for misdemeanour domestic violence.
McLean ended up pleading guilty to the charge and paid a $3,000 fine as part of an agreement to avoid jail time.
Patricia McLean, the musician’s now ex-wife, was also granted a restraining order against McLean after his plea deal, accusing him of verbally and physically abusing her for more than 30 years.
After the UCLA SAA’s announced they were rescinding the award, McLean took to Facebook to slam the university, referring to the fact that his “squabble” with his ex-wife has been public for three years.
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The 73-year-old added that he is “guilty of nothing to do with assault,” and blasted what he called “a dark age of accusation and not law.”
A statement from McLean’s publishes included a February 19 letter which stated that the singer pleaded guilty to the domestic violence charge, “not because he was in fact guilty of anything, but to provide closure for his family and keep the whole process as private as possible.”