Don McLean Receives Lifetime Achievement Award and Quickly Has It Taken Away over Domestic Abuse Charges

BY Brock ThiessenPublished May 7, 2019

Don McLean was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award, but before the "American Pie" singer had time to celebrate, the award was taken away due to his 2016 arrest for domestic violence. And as McLean has now explained, he isn't at all happy about how the whole debacle played out.

On Friday (May 3), the Student Alumni Association of UCLA announced it was presenting McLean with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement. On Monday, (May 6), McLean's publicist released a statement about the award, but by a few hours later, the student group had announced the award was now being taken back.

"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," said Tod M. Tamberg, senior executive director of UCLA Strategic Communications Media Relations, in a statement to the Portland Press Herald. "SAA rejects any behaviour — including violence and the threat of violence in all its forms — that does not uphold the True Bruin Values. We extend our support to survivors of domestic violence."

Back in 2016, McLean was arrested and charged with misdemeanour domestic violence for assaulting his now-ex-wife Patrisha McLean. While the musician denied physically assaulting his wife, he ultimately pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement to avoid jail time.

The charges were eventually dismissed in 2017, while Patrisha McLean was granted a temporary order of protection against him, accusing her husband of being physically and verbally abusive over three decades of marriage. She since has become a domestic abuse advocate.

In response to UCLA taking away the lifetime achievement award, McLean penned an angry Facebook reply late Monday, writing, "This has been all over the internet for 3 years. Are you people morons? This is settled law. Maybe I need to give you some bribe money to grease the college wheels. 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."

In another statement McLean's publicist said, "publicly disrespectful and grossly humiliating to Mr. McLean to issue and then rescind an award based on the supposition of any violent criminal history."

McLean with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement was created in 1988 in recognition of songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin. Previous recipients include the likes of Linkin Park, the Who and Alanis Morissette.

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