Stonewall Jackson Sues Opry for Age Discrimination

Singer Stonewall Jackson, a Grand Ole Opry member for 50 years, has filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against Opry general manager Pete Fisher and the Opry’s owner, Gaylord Entertainment. In documents filed Thursday (Jan. 11) in Nashville, the 74-year-old entertainer claims age discrimination, breach of contract and retaliation because the number of his appearances on the show declined significantly after Fisher was hired in 1998. The lawsuit alleges that Fisher expressed a desire to feature younger artists on the Opry and told Jackson he was “too old and too country.” Gaylord Entertainment vice president of media and entertainment Steve Buchanan says the Opry strives to appeal to all generations of fans. “The allegations of age discrimination are without merit, as evidenced by our lineups in each and every show,” Buchanan told The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily newspaper. Jackson became an Opry member in 1956 and later scored a string of Top 10 hits, including two No. 1 singles — “Waterloo” (1959) and “B.J. the D.J.” (1963). Guitarist Jimmy “Spider” Wilson, 71, a 53-year veteran of the Opry’s house band, resigned from the show in November after being excluded from televised segments of the show.