GM officials meet with group protesting Kid Rock, rebel flag
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors officials met Thursday with the leader of an activist group demanding the automaker cut financial ties with Kid Rock over the musician's use of the Confederate battle flag, a discussion that both sides appeared optimistic about.
Neither GM nor the Rev. Charles Williams II gave details about the meeting, but their comments indicated that some sort of resolution seemed possible.
"Because we have had some dialogue that seems promising, we are continuing to meet -- but we are not backing off," said Williams, president of the National Action Network Detroit chapter.
The group has protested Kid Rock's use of the flag. The musician's publicist told the Detroit Free Press that he last used the flag on tour more than five years ago. Last week, Kid Rock emphatically dismissed critics' concerns.
Williams said he couldn't say whether Kid Rock was still using the flag in performances, but had concerns that he appears with the flag on social media.
The flag's use has spurred protests since last month's killing of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The white man charged in the slayings had posed with the flag in photos that were posted online before the attack that police say was motivated by racial hatred.
The flag was removed last week from the South Carolina Statehouse.
Kid Rock, born Robert Ritchie, lives in suburban Detroit. He is known for dabbling in a variety of musical styles, from hip-hop and hard rock to country and Southern rock.
The Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People honored him at its 2011 fundraising dinner for his philanthropy in and around the city. That honor, his publicist Nick Stern told the Free Press, cemented the musician's decision not to perform onstage with the flag.
"They're protesting something he's not even doing," Stern told the newspaper.
GM spokesman Patrick Morrissey told The Associated Press earlier this week that the only flag on stage during Rock's Chevy-sponsored summer concert tour "is the American flag."
"We had a very constructive conversation with Rev. Williams today and we plan to continue the dialogue going forward," Morrissey said Thursday. "Chevrolet plans to continue its sponsorship of Kid Rock's summer concert series."
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