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The dark side of music: Courtney Love's allegation of underage sexual assault against Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent is one of the most divisive figures in music. A hard-rocker whose guitar-playing proficiency cannot be doubted, Nugent is one of those rare artists that is more known for his personality rather than his music. A staunch Republican and hater of hippies, he’s not afraid of a barb or two, and over his six-decade-long career, Nugent has found himself embroiled in countless debates. 

These days, Nugent is firmly on the side of the ‘Culture War’ that pits itself against woke leftists, making his thoughts very clear on everything from Covid-19 vaccinations to Donald Trump. Recently, he even labelled Neil Young a “stoner birdbrain punk“. 

Whilst you could argue that Ted Nugent is just a harmless gun-toting American who believes firmly in the ancient concept of ‘Manifest Destiny’, there have long been rumours that he has a far darker side to his personality. Amassing discussion over a number of years, there are numerous accounts that accuse Nugent of being a sex offender with a propensity for underage girls, all of which he has vehemently denied.

It is well-known that Nugent’s 1981 track ‘Jailbait’ was written about his attraction to a young girl. The line, “Well, I don’t care if you’re just thirteen / You look too good to be true”, is etched into the minds of listeners as the most apparent indication that Nugent is attracted to underage girls. 

However, it is not just this highly suspect song that has added to the controversy surrounding the hard-rocker.

Infamously, during the late 1970s, Nugent entered a relationship with the 17-year-old girl, Pele Massa. Although he claimed VH1’s Behind the Music that Massa’s parents approved of the relationship and preferred him to an alcoholic or a drug addict, the point remains the same, per American law, she was a minor. Adding to the questions about this moment in his life, there are some sources that suggest that Nugent became the legal guardian of Massa to dodge the law, although those accusations have been contested. 

It must be made clear, Nugent has always denied the stories. During a live stream posted to his YouTube channel in July 2021, the allegations were mentioned by a user, to which he scoffed at in dismissive nature. He swiftly set about setting the record straight in his trademark fashion by blasting his political enemies. 

“‘Nugent was a sex offender’ by somebody with a bunch of vowels and voodoo signs as a name,” he said. “No, I wasn’t a sex offender, I’ve never been a sex offender. I didn’t dodge the draft and I didn’t diss the Native Americans,” Nugent added, while continuing: “I’m not all those things that the cancel culture freaks, the LSD experimenters claim I was. So I shouldn’t have even acknowledged that dirtbag but they keep at it. They are just drunk on hate and lies. It’s just hysterical.”

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The prior accusations may well be fabrications, but there is one that you just cannot ignore, despite the provenance of the source being highly oblique. This damning and genuinely sickening allegation comes from Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, who shocked listeners when she recounted the horrific tale during a 2004 phone-in on The Howard Stern Show.

Love claimed that one of the first times she had oral sex was with Ted Nugent. Sounding scarred by the event, Love initially maintained that she couldn’t remember how old she was at the time, before confessing that she was 12 and a half years old when she performed oral sex on Nugent backstage at a show. Adding to this, Love claimed at the time she hadn’t even developed breasts.

Interestingly though, Love appeared on The Howard Stern Show again in 2013 and corrected herself. She said that she was actually 14 when it allegedly happened, claiming that there was a line of young girls waiting to engage in sexual acts with Nugent. The Hole singer recalled that she was wearing a yellow tube top and “shouldn’t have been there”.

If we’re to believe Love’s account, the incident would have occurred between 1978 and 1979, two years before Nugent released ‘Jailbait’. If true, this is of course extremely serious, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out what kind of events had inspired the controversial song, which only adds to the unlistenable, rancid sentiment of Nugent’s trademark material. 

When Love’s allegation was first made in 2004, many outlets, including The New York Post, tried to contact Nugent for a response, but all were unsuccessful. Suspiciously, moderators on Nugent’s official forum deleted the thread that discussed the allegations, making people question what was going on. 

Nugent has never responded directly to Love’s allegation. However, last year, he did weigh in on the baseless conspiracy surrounding the suicide of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, Love’s late husband. The tactless and unfounded claim argues that it was Love who had Cobain killed, but when you actually examine the evidence, it falls flat like much of the misinformation that Nugent peddles. 

During another one of his live stream events, Nugent claimed: “Chris Farley did the same thing, Jimi Hendrix and all of them. Jim Morrison, all of them. Kurt Cobain, Courtney probably blew his brains up. They’re both just stoned, mindless, uncomfortably dumb drug-abusing, substance-abusing idiots. Don’t be a substance-abusing, suicidal idiot. Clean and sober is the best way. Now I have friends that like to smoke dope and get drunk, I don’t like it.”

The allegations against Ted Nugent are grave, and although some believe they were 100% true, and that he should be serving time, it doesn’t work like that. Abuse leaves scars on the victims, and often they’ll live out their lives without taking any real action because of the severe trauma caused. Whilst Love’s allegations may not be the most transparent when you listen to her first making it in 2004, you hear her voice shake, and if that’s affected, I’ll de damned. 

Listen to Courtney Love phone The Howard Stern Show in 2004 below.