Dolly Parton says no to statue of her at Tennessee capitol
Dolly Parton has refused another honor.
The country star and philanthropist, who revealed this month that she declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Donald Trump on two occasions, said Thursday that she doesn’t want a statue of her to be erected on the capitol grounds in Nashville, Tenn. State lawmakers introduced a bill last month that would eventually do just that, and a committee is expected to consider creating a “Dolly Parton Fund” to pay for the cost of the statue on Tuesday, according to the Tennesseean.
“I am honored and humbled by their intention but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration,” Parton said in a statement Thursday. “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.”
Parton added that she would like the statue to happen one day, “several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone,” if people still think she deserves it.
In response, Rep. John Windle, who introduced the bill, laughed out loud, the local newspaper reported.
“I believe it’s totally appropriate,” Windle said. “I certainly respect her wishes but I’m gonna give her fans a chance to change her mind. Because she’s wrong. She does deserve this.”
Parton, whose Dollywood amusement park is located in the town of Pigeon Forge, has long been revered in the state for her talent as well as her philanthropy. Her Imagination Library has provided more than 100 million books to children around the world since she started it there in 1995. She’s also helped students by giving scholarships to students in her native Sevier County, performed benefit concerts for victims of natural disasters in the state and, last year, famously donated $1 million to research of the coronavirus, which led to creation of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19.
Talk of a Parton statue at the state capitol began last year, as lawmakers debated removing statues including one of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathaniel Bedford. More than 25,000 of her fans have signed a Change.org petition calling for all the state’s statues of Confederate leaders to be replaced with one of Parton.
A tribute to the “Here You Come Again” singer in her hometown of Sevierville was completed in 1987.
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