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Toby Keith Accused of Refusing to Autograph St. Jude Charity Guitar

Toby Keith
Getty Images, Jason Merritt

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is an organization that we hold near and dear to our hearts. KEAN-105 holds its St. Jude Radiothon annually to benefit the hospital that treats sick children regardless of their family’s ability to pay. The country music industry as a whole has chipped in considerably to champion the cause, too. So, when news comes out that a country superstar may have snubbed a St. Jude fundraiser, it’s surprising. And when Toby Keith is the accused, that’s just plain shocking.

Say it ain’t so, Big Dog Daddy.

Toby Keith is facing allegations that he refused to sign a guitar that was said to be set for a 2013 fundraiser in Nebraska. According to, Joel Bieschke, owner of events booking company Creative Adventures, teamed up with a local Nebraska country radio station to bring fans to Toby’s June 22 Nebraskaland Days concert. They say they received confirmation from one of Toby’s people to have him sign a guitar. But, they were met with a surprise when they approached Keith backstage with the guitar. According to Bieschke,

“When we got face-to-face with Toby in the meet-and-greet line he refused to sign the guitar and his crew told us to leave or else they were going to call security…It would have taken him 10 seconds to sign that guitar to help raise money for children who are terminally ill. I’d like to think he was not that type of guy.”

When asked to comment, Toby’s tour manager, David Milam, brought up the fact that Keith supports children’s charities through his Toby Keith Foundation and the OK Kids Korral, which provides sick children and their families a place to stay while they are undergoing cancer treatments. Milam stated further,

“If it was asked of us for Toby to sign something for St. Jude or any other LEGITIMATE charity, we always do so,” Milam insists. “For them to think that Toby would disregard a great charity like St. Jude when he has his own foundation that supports and has the same goals is just stupid.”

Either I’m not getting the whole story, or Bieschke is making stuff up. If I were to make arrangements in advance for a superstar to autograph a guitar, I would certainly get the name of the person I spoke with, and find some way to confirm my story. This guy says he’s been in promotions for over 20 years, but either failed to cover his bases, or is making up the part about asking permission in advance.

In Toby Keith’s defense, his autograph has value. And just like anyone else, when he signs his name to something, he has every right to know what he’s signing. If his camp wasn’t made aware that some guy was bringing a guitar and can’t confirm what it’s for, Toby has every right to refuse without any issue being brought up. For all he knows, that guitar was going to be sold on Ebay for personal profit.

Who do you believe? Toby or the booking company?

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