Fact Check

No, Tom Selleck Did Not Voice Support of Jason Aldean's 'Try That in a Small Town' Video

Aldean’s music video for his song “Try That in a Small Town” became the center of a culture war.

Published Aug. 10, 2023

 (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
Claim:
Actor Tom Selleck spoke out in support of country singer Jason Aldean after accusations that the music video for Aldean's song “Try That in a Small Town” promoted white nationalism. Selleck supposedly said, “I grew up in a small town and let me tell you, Jason’s song was spot on.”

In August 2023, an online article claimed that actor Tom Selleck spoke out in support of country singer Jason Aldean's song "Try That in a Small Town," which has been at the center of a culture battle amid accusations that the music video promoted white nationalism. The article's headline read, "Tom Selleck Speaks Out In Support of Jason Aldean: 'I'm From a Small Town.'"

The article stated

Tom Selleck is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood. A staunch conservative, Selleck doesn't always fit in with his peers. That became obvious when he spoke out in support of country star Jason Aldean and his hit song about small towns.

"I grew up in a small town," said Selleck, "and let me tell you, Jason's song was spot on." His comments were shunned by many in his own circle, but Selleck doesn't care. "I have my own set of values to adhere to," he said.

Aldean reportedly reached out to thank the legend, sending him an autographed thumb drive with the song and an uncut version of the video. "To Tom Selleck," read the attached note, "From one of your biggest fans."

The article was not an accurate report of real-life events. It originated from a website that describes itself as satirical in nature. As we have noted in previous reporting, the Dunning-Kruger Times is part of the America's Last Line of Defense network of satirical websites. Its "About Us" page specifies that it publishes "parody, satire, and tomfoolery."

Their "About Us" page goes on to state:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

In other words, Selleck did not make such a statement about Aldean. The article went on to poke fun at the actor, stating he was born "Jeremy Logan Portabilly in West Gregston, Alabama in 1943. The town has a current population of somewhere between seven and ten people. He changed his name to Selleck, his mother's maiden name after his first agent told him there would be very little work for someone with 'a name so ridiculous it sounds like someone made it up.' He graduated from Our Lady of Sea Salt College in Mobile with a degree in Drama and Literature."

In late July-early August 2023, Aldean was at the center of controversy upon the release of the music video for "Try That in a Small Town." While the country star portrayed it as an ode to neighborly values, many critics said it promoted racist vigilantism and white nationalism, criticized protests against racial injustice, and was "pro-lynching." The music video was filmed in front of a courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where critics noted a Black man was lynched by a white mob in 1927. 

Aldean denied these claims, saying on Twitter: "In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous."

As we have reported before, Selleck described himself as "a registered independent with a lot of libertarian leanings." He support John McCain for president back in 2008, and never spoke out in favor of former U.S. President Donald Trump, saying he wrote in Dallas Police Chief  David Brown while voting in 2016. We have no evidence that Selleck supports the alleged messaging in Aldean's music video. 

Given that the story originates from a website that identifies itself as satirical in nature, we rate this claim as Labeled Satire. 

Sources

"About Us." Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/about-us/. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Blistein, Jon. "Everyone's Already Lost Interest in Jason Aldean's 'Try That in a Small Town.'" Rolling Stone, 8 Aug. 2023, https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/jason-aldean-try-that-in-a-small-town-falls-hot-100-chart-1234802602/. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Carballo, Rebecca. "The History of the Lynching Site Where Jason Aldean Filmed a Music Video." The New York Times, 21 July 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/21/arts/music/jason-aldean-song-video-lynching-courthouse-choate.html. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

"Jason Aldean: US Country Star Denies Small Town Music Video Is 'pro-Lynching.'" BBC News, 19 July 2023. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-66248807. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Kasprak, Alex. "Is Tom Selleck a Trump Supporter?" Snopes, 20 Aug. 2019, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/tom-selleck-trump/. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Liles, Jordan. "Whoopi Goldberg 'Panics After Losing Everything' in Lawsuit Brought by Jason Aldean?" Snopes, 7 Aug. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/whoopi-goldberg-lawsuit-aldean/. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Sisario, Ben. "Jason Aldean's 'Try That in a Small Town' Hits No. 1." The New York Times, 2 Aug. 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/02/arts/music/jason-aldean-small-town-newjeans-billboard.html. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

"Tom Selleck Speaks Out In Support of Jason Aldean: 'I'm From a Small Town.'" Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, 9 Aug. 2023, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/tom-selleck-speaks-out-in-support-of-jason-aldean-im-from-a-small-town/. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.