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Gospel Artist Kirk Franklin Boycotting Dove Awards Over Atatiana Jefferson Reference Being Cut From Speech

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Grammy-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin says he's boycotting the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards after they edited out part of his acceptance speech earlier this month in which he called for prayers after the deadly police shooting of Atatiana Jefferson in his hometown of Fort Worth.

Franklin posted a Facebook video on Monday that said he would no longer attend events associated with the Dove Awards, GMA or Trinity Broadcasting Network "until tangible plans are put into place to protect and champion diversity." The 50th annual awards show was held in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 15 and aired on Oct. 20 on TBN.

Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin speaks at 2017 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BMI)

"Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African American experience," Franklin said.

The GMA said in a statement that they are "deeply apologetic" and said it was not their "intent to disregard or silence any of our artists."

This is not the first time Franklin has criticized the show for editing his statements. In 2016 on the Dove Awards stage, he spoke about police brutality and urged other Christian artists to speak out about racial injustice, but that speech was also edited when it later aired on TBN.

This year, he referenced a police shooting that had happened just a few days earlier that caused outrage and calls for police accountability.

"A young girl by the name of Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her home by a policeman and I am just asking that we send up prayers for her family and for his, and asking that we send up prayers for that 8-year-old little boy that saw that tragedy," Franklin said after winning gospel artist of the year.

GMA's statement said that due to the broadcast window time limits, they had to significantly edit the show down to two hours.

"We accept the responsibility of our error," the statement said. "Although completely unintentional it caused great harm and deeply wounded many in the African American and gospel community."

The statement said they have reached out to Franklin to discuss solutions moving forward.

Jefferson was shot and killed in her home when Officer Aaron Dean, who has since resigned and been charged with murder, responded to a call from a neighbor to check on the house because it was very late and the front door was open.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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