Comedian and “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Jim Brewer hosted a charity concert to raise funds for Floridian impacted by Hurricane Ian in late September, but said that not every act invited chose to attend. The reason given: the politics of some of the other acts.
Regional independent news outlet Florida’s Voice posted a video of Brewer explaining what it was like trying to recruit some performers for the benefit concert, which was held Dec. 1.
“And they blew me off for over a week and a half, and they were all about, ‘Well, you know, it’s hard because DeSantis.’ And they made it political,” said.
“And it was the first time in my life when I realized — people are homeless; people have lost their lives, they’ve lost their livelihoods. And you’re willing, you’re willing to put your political views and whatever you think ahead of saving someone’s life. And that’s why this concert meant so much.
“Because, again, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ira Dean, John Rich, everyone that showed up — Ted Nugent! People, people are like, ‘Oh, Ted Nugent’s on? I’m not coming.'”
WATCH: Comedian @JimBreuer slams Democrats for avoiding the SWFL Hurricane Ian benefit concert because of politics
“You’re willing to put your political views, and whatever you think, ahead of saving someone’s life? […] People are like, oh Ted Nugent’s on? I’m not coming.” pic.twitter.com/yTmLBeoT4D
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) December 7, 2022
The sold-out event raised more than $1.5 million, according to Florida’s Voice, and featured performances by Brian Kelley and Tracy Lawrence in addition to the artists Brewer mentioned in the video.
Boots on the Sand, Inc., produced the event along with Dean. The not-for-profit organization told the outlet than funds raised would be distributed to needy Floridians through Volunteer Florida and Collaboratory, formerly known as the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
“We couldn’t sit by and not try to help people in a time of need. Hopefully, we can raise a bunch of money for the victims of the storm, get some musician friends to come down and join us, and bring some smiles to the faces of those people that have lost so much,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Johnny Van Zant told Florida’s Voice prior to the event.
“My better half, Jennifer Parisi, and her whole family are from Naples, Florida, so Florida is my second home,” Dean told St. Petersburg new media publisher Florida Politics. “I think we all have seen the news footage of cars turned upside down, but this doesn’t capture the full picture down here. Spending a ton of time in SWFL, I know that it is largely made up of blue collar, hardworking folks. I didn’t realize the devastation that Ian left in its path until I got down here to check on the house.”
“I knew right then,” he said after seeing residents forced to sleep outside in their yards, some mourning the lost. “I had to do something.
“So, with a lot of help from Jennifer, we partnered up with Hertz Arena, Live Nation, and iHeart Radio, and began calling all my musician friends to throw a Hurricane Relief concert, where 100% of the money raised goes to the victims of this devastating disaster,” he said.
Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida on Sept. 28 as a strong Category 4 hurricane with a 10-to-15-foot storm surge in some areas.
It was the second-costliest hurricane on record, CNBC reported, with insurance claims totaling between $50 and $65 billion. Only 2005’s Hurricane Katrina caused more damage in U.S. history.
Lynyrd Skynyrd separately donated $200,000 to the Florida Disaster Fund, according to Florida Politics.
Readers interested in donating to hurricane relief efforts can do so here.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.