Artist News Awards

Don McLean has lifetime achievement award rescinded, hours after being announced

By | Published on Tuesday 7 May 2019

Don McLean

Don McLean has had a lifetime achievement award rescinded just hours after it was announced he was going to receive it, because organisers learned that he pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges three years ago.

The musician was announced as this year’s recipient of the George And Ira Gershwin Award For Lifetime Musical Achievement yesterday. The prize is presented annually by the Student Alumni Association of the University Of California, Los Angeles. A ceremony was scheduled for 17 May.

In a statement, the SAA 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. SAA rejects any behaviour – including violence and the threat of violence in all its forms – that does not uphold [our college’s values]. We extend our support to survivors of domestic violence”.

A rep for Don McLean said in an email to the SAA, also provided to the Press Herald, that it is “publicly disrespectful and grossly humiliating” to offer and then withdraw an award “based on the supposition of any violent criminal history”. They added that there had been ample time to vet potential award winners for anything in their recent past, especially “something as public” as McLean’s domestic violence case, before announcing the award.

In a statement on Facebook, Mclean himself said: “Dear UCLA. You awarded me your George and Ira Gershwin life time achievement award and then took it back because you found out about my squabble with my ex wife. This has been all over the internet for three years. Are you people morons? This is settled law”.

“Maybe I need to give you some bribe money to grease the college wheels”, he went on. “Don’t ever come near me again unless you offer me an apology for the damage you have done me. I am guilty of nothing to do with assault and you had better make that clear. We live in a dark age of accusation and not law”.

McLean was arrested and charged with several crimes relating to domestic violence against his wife, Patrisha McLean, in 2016. He later pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal, which saw a number of the charges dismissed. The couple divorced after the arrest, with Patricia citing decades of abuse, which Don denies.