Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Center for Reproductive Rights
Plenty of folks in South Dakota surely love "I Love Rock 'n' Roll"—they just don't want Joan Jett atop their Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float.
The choice of Jett and the Blackhearts to perform on the Mount Rushmore American Pride float during the annual event in New York City has rankled critics who insist that the prominent vegetarian and animal rights activist most certainly does not represent the state's pro-agriculture, beef-industry-supporting values.
"Her agenda through PETA does not represent South Dakota," state Sen. Larry Rhoden, who's also a rancher, told the Rapid City Journal. "The organization is obviously very anti-ag. They are very misinformed on the ag industry and the animal ag industry."
"South Dakota Cattlemen's Association is very concerned that the South Dakota float would be featuring a prominent vegetarian on the Thanksgiving Parade float," added SDCA executive director Jodie Anderson. "We hope that future floats would support not only the tourism industry but also agriculture."
Jett was selected by state Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen—and he stands by his music-industry choice, noting that "American Pie" singer Don McClean was on the float last year, and Neil Diamond the year before that.
"For us, it's not about the talent on the float," he told the newspaper. "It's about having Mount Rushmore featured before 3 million live viewers...more than 100 million people around the world who are seeing that float."
"She holds views that I don't, but there are a lot of people who love her as an artist," Hagen added. "It puts the focus on Mount Rushmore and South Dakota."
PETA, not surprisingly, doesn't know what the ranchers are so concerned about.
"We're surprised that ranchers want to draw attention to themselves by being crybabies over the appearance of a vegetarian icon such as Joan Jett on the state's float," PETA senior VP Dan Mathews wrote in an email to reporters.
There's been no word on the backlash from Jett herself via Twitter, but a rep for the 55-year-old rocker said that she has performed in South Dakota numerous times and is a big fan of the state.
Jett's recent tweets seem pretty apolitical, her most recent non-promotional tweet being, "#HappyVeteransDay from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Thank you to all the troops who have served our country."
A sentiment that surely all 50 states can get behind.