Kris Kristofferson Doesn’t Recall Alleged Verbal Altercation With Toby Keith

Kris Kristofferson says he has no recollection of an alleged incident with Toby Keith during a television taping session in 2003. In a feature story about Kristofferson in the current issue of Rolling Stone, actor Ethan Hawke writes about a verbal altercation between the two singer-songwriters at New York’s Beacon Theater during a concert celebrating Willie Nelson’s birthday. Hawke does not mention Keith by name, although he makes an obvious, thinly-veiled reference to Keith. The story claims that Keith told Kristofferson to refrain from making any “lefty” political statements at the show and that Kristofferson responded harshly with questions about Keith’s lack of military service. The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville mentioned the incident in a short story about the Rolling Stone article. In a note to Rolling Stone that was forwarded to The Tennessean, Kristofferson wrote, “I’m deeply grateful and was profoundly moved by Ethan Hawke’s generous and respectful story about me. I have to say, though, I have no memory of talking so tough to anyone at Willie’s birthday party — least of all to Toby Keith, (if that’s who the nameless star is), for whom I have nothing but admiration and respect. And contrary to what the college classmate said, I never was president of any class in college or on the debating team, writing club or played baseball. I hated politics and never ran for anything.” A Rolling Stone spokesperson told CMT, “We fully stand by this story and Ethan’s reporting.”