Take it back, son

Toby Keith Ethan Hawke Kris Kristofferson


Hawke describes a blowup Kristofferson had in 2003 with an unnamed country star who sounds a lot like Keith. Backstage at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday, a furious Keith said it wasn’t true.

“I don’t know Ethan Hawke. Ethan Hawke wanted to do some kind of superficial Rolling Stone article. And he did everything he could to make his story the greatest story ever in Rolling Stone,” Keith said. “And it was a fictitious (expletive) lie. OK?”

Hawke claims that he witnessed the confrontation backstage at

Willie Nelson

’s 70th birthday concert in New York. He describes a country singer who “had a monster hit about bombing America’s enemies back into the stone age.”

(In 2002, Keith had “Courtesy of the Red, White Blue (The Angry American)” that threatened retribution for the 9/11 attacks.)

Hawke said the argument began with the unnamed star telling Kristofferson: “None of that lefty (expletive) out there tonight, Kris.”

Hawke said Kristofferson then angrily confronted the star and asked him if he had ever served in the military.

“Have you ever killed another man? Huh? Have you ever taken another man’s life and then cashed the check your country gave you for doing it? No, you have not, so shut the (expletive) up,” Hawke recounted Kristofferson as saying.

Kristofferson, in a statement, said he did not recall the incident and tried to be diplomatic.

“I would like to state for the record that I am friends with Ethan Hawke, Toby Keith … Although I do not remember the events at Willie’s birthday party … what does it matter?” he asked.

“That was six years ago. I spoke to Ethan before I put out my statement and thanked him for the beautiful story he wrote for Rolling Stone, and I also told him I did not recall the incident at Willie’s birthday party. This is the last statement I will put out about this nonsense.”

Are you listening, Toby?