Crisis Management: Dolly Parton Attacker Swarmed by Fans, Now “Regrets” Her Attack

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A person with long blonde hair and a sparkly blue and white outfit standing in front of the Dollywood sign, channeling their inner Dolly Parton. They are smiling with their arms raised. The background includes colorful flowers and part of a building.

Credit: Inside the Magic

It is safe to say without hyperbole that singer-songwriter-actress-business-tycoon-philanthropist Dolly Parton is one of the most beloved people in the entire world, and a person who recently attacked the country icon in an op-ed is quickly finding that out.

Dolly Parton with blond hair and a bright smile is sitting on a couch, holding a pink phone to her ear. Behind her, there are colorful flowers and green plants in a cozy indoor setting.
Credit: Disney

Dolly Parton began her career as a prolific country music songwriter, but she had much bigger aspirations than working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. The singer was born in poverty in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and moved to Nashville immediately after graduating high school.

She eventually scored a string of country hits. She also became a fixture of the popular music program The Porter Wagoner Show, eventually overshadowing the titular star of the series.

She parted ways with Porter Wagoner in the early 1970s, writing the immortal ballad “I Will Always Love You” as a memorial to their professional partnership. The song became a hit for Dolly Parton and, later, Whitney Houston; infamously, she declined to let Elvis Presley record the song when his manager demanded she sign over half of the very lucrative publishing rights.

Dolly Parton would become a country mega-star and eventually crossover into mainstream success, starring in movies like 9 to 5 (1980), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), and Steel Magnolias (1989) and producing dozens of hit albums.

She is currently set to release Dolly Parton & Family: Smoky Mountain DNA – Family, Faith & Fables, a new album focused on her family history. It will be released on November 15th, alongside a four-part documentary series.

Related: Miley Cyrus Can Only Contact Godmother Dolly Parton ‘Through Her Lawyer’s Office’

The singer is also known for her entrepreneurial success and philanthropy, further cementing her status as a “living saint” of Americana. She owns the Dollywood theme park, the Splash Country water park, Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, and is known for the Dolly Foundation.

The foundation promotes childhood literacy and has nearly two million children enrolled and receiving free books courtesy of the country legend. All this, and she was instrumental in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, helping to save millions of lives.

Dolly Parton Dollywood
Credit: Dollywood

It should not be surprising that Dolly Parton fans were aghast and enraged when The Federalist recently published an article by Ericka Andersen titled “There’s Nothing Loving About Dolly Parton’s False Gospel.” The article takes a prolonged and specific issue with Parton’s lack of judgment for the LGBTQIA+ community, calling it “unaligned with God’s vision for humanity.”

Over the course of approximately 700 words, Ericka Andersen (whose bio describes her as a columnist for World magazine and reporter for Christianity Today) attacks Dolly Parton as preaching a “false gospel” and criticizes her for not specifically saying LGBTQIA+ people are sinning against God.

The central thesis of the article is that while Christians should treat everyone with love, their faith should also require them to call out other people for their perceived sins, specifically homosexuality and that Scriptural tenets such as “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” are no excuse.

A close-up of Dolly Parton with voluminous blonde hair and striking makeup, featuring deep red lipstick and bold eye shadow. She wears a bright red outfit, exuding a warm smile.
Credit: Crackle

An excerpt from the article:

Like other universally adored figures such as “The Rock” and the late Betty White, Parton is a beloved icon who generally steers clear of controversy. She would never, for example, speak negatively of those who disagree with her on LBGT acceptance.

All of that neutrality might be fine, if she didn’t consistently pivot to her faith as the reason for the “love is love” talking points.

When asked about her diverse community of fans, Parton always mentions Christianity, saying she does her best “not to judge” and only “to love” for that reason.

But Parton’s version of love, which includes condoning immoral sexual behavior (“be who you are,” she’s said), is unaligned with God’s vision for humanity. Like so many secularized spiritual leaders, Parton equates love with agreement, but the two are not reciprocal. Love doesn’t mean we must accept sinfulness as good to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

This, however, is her “get out of jail free” card. Who’s going to argue with it? She’s not alone in this avoidance tactic. Christians often use the “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” Scripture verse to sidestep addressing sin directly. Parton does exactly the same thing here. 

She’s right that all should be treated with love and kindness, but when we refuse to label sin a sin, we’re doing more harm than good. 

The gospel of Dolly Parton is popular with the masses, but don’t bank your eternity on it. 

Related: Hello Dolly! Dolly Parton Announces New Broadway Debut

The backlash against Ericka Andersen has been swift, with Dolly Parton fans calling her out over social media and the writer having set her Twitter profile to private. A few examples of the pile-on by Parton partisans include @iamn0tthe1 posting, “Seriously though. @ErickaAnderson shouldn’t have gone private, she should just delete her whole account. ⁦

@DollyParton’s willingness to love regardless is similar to someone else, Ericka claims to know. A nice Palestinian Jewish fella named Jesus. Agape good folks. Try it.”

@sean_eggman posted,” contributor Ericka Anderson to federalist society. Time to destroy this filthy woman for trying to attack Dolly Parton for standing up for Gays. People when is our 85 million going to act to stop this crap. End her career and it won’t happen again as America loves Dolly.”

Ericka Andersen has now spoken up about the backlash to her attack on Dolly Parton (via Yahoo Entertainment), saying:

“I regret using Dolly as the example for the point I was making in the article. As I wrote in the piece, I love her and think she does some incredible things for the world. We all make poor choices in how to frame things sometimes. This was one of those moments for me! Dolly is one of the few people who is beloved by all and who loves all. The world is lucky to have her.”

Notably, this phrasing does not attempt to reverse Andersen’s point or apologize for describing Dolly Parton’s unwillingness to judge others as a “false gospel.” It is not likely to slow down any Dolly fans.

What do you think of this semi-apology? Tell us in the comments below!

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