Faith Hill Denies Being Disrespectful at CMA Awards

Says Carrie Underwood "Is a Talented and Deserving Female Vocalist of the Year"

Faith Hill denies that she was disrespectful when the female vocalist of the year was announced Monday night (Nov. 6) at the 40th annual CMA Awards show in Nashville.

Hill, who was nominated in the category with Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson, was shown on a backstage camera at the ABC telecast when newcomer Underwood was announced as the winner. Hill responded with a frown and mouthed “What?!” to the camera and then stormed away.

By Tuesday morning (Nov. 7), a backstage photo of Hill was online on the Drudge Report’s home page — along with a link to a brief story in USA Today. Nationally syndicated radio host Don Imus referred to Hill’s reaction during his morning show that is simulcast on MSNBC. Message boards at CMT.com remained active with fans speculating on the reasons for the singer’s reaction.

In a press release issued Tuesday morning, Hill’s New York-based publicist, Paul Freundlich, offered a written statement from Hill.

“The idea that I would act disrespectful towards a fellow musician is unimaginable to me,” Hill said. “For this to become a focus of attention, given the talent gathered, is utterly ridiculous. Carrie is a talented and deserving female vocalist of the year.”

Gary Borman, Hill’s longtime manager, added that the singer’s reaction was meant as a joke.

“I’ve worked with Faith for many years now, and the idea that she would ever insult or undermine another artist, let alone another human being’s success, is absolutely preposterous,” Borman said. “Those who know her know that she’s incapable of such actions. She was being playful while the nominations were being read and playful after.”