Fact Check

Was Garth Brooks Pictured Wearing an LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flag Ribbon?

One user on X remarked of the picture, "Garth Brooks knows that the LBGTQ crowd also drinks Bud Light."

Published Aug 28, 2023

Garth Brooks attends the 43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center on May 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images) (Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
Garth Brooks attends the 43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center on May 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
A picture shows country singer Garth Brooks wearing rainbow colors in support of LGBTQ+ rights.

On Aug. 27, 2023, a dubious user on X (formerly Twitter) published a post with a picture of country singer Garth Brooks wearing an outfit that included a ribbon around his neck that bore a rainbow of colors. According to the replies under the post, users believed that Brooks was wearing the colors to represent a rainbow flag in support of LGTBQ+ rights, perhaps during Pride Month.

The caption of the post read, ''Garth Brooks likes to stick his friends in low places."

Users on X appeared to believe that Garth Brooks had worn colors that resembled the LGBTQ+ rainbow flag for Pride Month.

Commenters chimed in with replies including "he is probably gay," "gayyyyy!!!," and "I've always thought he was gay," just to name a few.

Another user said of the post and photograph, "Garth Brooks knows that the LBGTQ crowd also drink [Bud Light]. He's all about the sales as he is probably a good businessman/businessperson."

While the original post didn't directly spell out with words the rumor that Brooks had worn the colors as a rainbow flag in support of LGBTQ+ causes, the vast majority of users who commented underneath it certainly interpreted it that way.

Truth be told, all of this was misleading.

The picture of Brooks was captured on May 21, 2021. He was one of several honorees who were featured during the annual Kennedy Center Honors.

As Distractify reported, the rainbow-colored design was simply part of the program for honorees at The Kennedy Center. The ribbon around Brooks' neck had nothing to do with LGBTQ+ causes.

The Facebook page for The Kennedy Center once noted that the Honors' rainbow design's creator, Ivan Chermayeff, said that the colors represent "a spectrum of many skills within the performing arts."

This was not to say that Brooks was not in favor of LGBTQ+ rights. Rather, it was just that the colors around his neck on that one day had nothing to do with the matter.

As for the user whose post above referenced Bud Light, that matter concerned remarks Brooks had made months earlier.

On June 7, Billboard.com published an interview with Brooks where he had talked about his upcoming Nashville bar and its future patrons. During the interview, Brooks appeared to reference a controversy about Bud Light's previous partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Brooks said it was his intention to "serve every brand of beer":

"I know this sounds corny," [Brooks] continued, "I want it to be the Chick-fil-A of honky-tonks … I want it to be a place you feel safe in, I want it to be a place where you feel like there are manners and people like one another. And yes, we're going to serve every brand of beer. We just are. It's not our decision to make. Our thing is this, if you [are let] into this house, love one another. If you're an a–hole, there are plenty of other places on lower Broadway." A number of artist-owned bars on Lower Broadway, including John Rich's Redneck Riviera and Kid Rock's bar, quit serving Bud Light after the brand partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney earlier this year.

In the months following the publishing of this interview, some users who aligned themselves with right-wing politics continued to chide Brooks for his remarks that had been reported by Billboard.com.

More about the timeline of events regarding the controversy with Brooks and Bud Light can be found in our previous reporting.

As for Brooks' love life that so many X users referenced in replies, he married fellow country singer Trisha Yearwood in 2005.


How Did the Rainbow Flag Become a Symbol of LGBTQ Pride? | Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/story/how-did-the-rainbow-flag-become-a-symbol-of-lgbt-pride.

Khalil, Ashraf. "Kennedy Center Honorees Still Relish Slimmed-down Tribute." The Associated Press, 22 May 2021, https://apnews.com/article/politics-donald-trump-health-coronavirus-pandemic-entertainment-cbe76e2afa1b8266fe5cf17efadce5fd.

Kozma, Leila. "Why Are the Kennedy Center Honors Ribbons Rainbow? It's Not What Some Assume." Distractify, 6 June 2021, https://www.distractify.com/p/why-are-the-kennedy-center-honors-ribbons-rainbow.

Liles, Jordan. "Did Garth Brooks Cancel His Bar's Grand Opening After Bud Light Controversy?" Snopes, 16 June 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/garth-brooks-cancels-bar-grand-opening/.

"Remember the Crazy Story of How Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood Met?" Taste of Country, 10 Dec. 2022, https://tasteofcountry.com/happy-anniversary-garth-brooks-and-trisha-yearwood/.

"The 43rd Kennedy Center Honorees Are..." The Kennedy Center, https://www.kennedy-center.org/whats-on/honors/2020-honorees/.

"The Kennedy Center." Facebook, 6 Dec. 2019, https://www.facebook.com/KennedyCenter/photos/a.162137035864/10157493324155865/?type=3.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.