Joan Jett, a vegetarian rock n’ roller, will grace South Dakota’s float in the upcoming Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
According to the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal, Tourism Secretary Jim Hagan announced Jett’s role on the state’s Mount Rushmore American Pride float, and now faces questions from the state’s livestock community.
Jodie Anderson, executive director of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, worries that Jett, a vegetarian and poster child for PETA, may project the wrong image for a state rich in agricultural history.
"South Dakota Cattlemen's Association is very concerned that the South Dakota float would be featuring a prominent vegetarian on the Thanksgiving Parade float," she said Tuesday. "We hope that future floats would support not only the tourism industry but also agriculture."
However, Hagen points that the float isn’t designed to promote agriculture. Instead, it’s hoping to attract tourists.
"The feedback through the years has just been immensely positive about the float and South Dakota as a vacation destination," he said. "I don't know the personal opinions and viewpoints of a lot of these artists."
Hagen also said that Jett's political views are really not an issue when it comes to marketing the state to a national audience.
"She holds views that I don't, but there are a lot of people who love her as an artist," Hagen said. "It puts the focus on Mount Rushmore and South Dakota."
USA Today reports that Jett was not the state’s first choice for artists. None of the artists the state proposed were available – or willing – to appear on the parade. Macy’s selected Jett and her band instead.
On Friday, Macy's responded to the outrage by moving Joett off the float.
Orlando Veras, Macy's parade spokesman, told The Associated Press that Jett and her band, will be moved to another float.
Veras explained that the annual parade in New York City is about entertainment, not advocacy, and that Macy's was making the change "to prevent any further distraction from our entertainment mission."
"The Parade has never taken on, promoted or otherwise engaged in social commentary, political debate, or other forms of advocacy, no matter how worthy," Veras said in a statement. "Macy's intention is only to provide a range of entertaining elements and performers free of endorsements or agendas."