Federal prosecutors in New Jersey dropped two drunk driving charges against music icon Bruce Springsteen on Wednesday.
Authorities arrested Springsteen in November and charged him with DWI, reckless driving, and consuming alcohol in a closed area. Prosecutors decided to drop the first two charges after tests showed Springsteen’s blood-alcohol level below legal limits at the time. The singer pleaded guilty to the third charge and paid a $500 fine, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Springsteen was arrested on Nov. 14 at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. His arrest was not reported on until February, however, days after he appeared in his first-ever Super Bowl commercial for the vehicle brand Jeep.
After the revelation, Jeep pulled the commercial saying, “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate. But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established. Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever. As is the message that drinking and driving can never be condoned.”
The Jeep commercial, titled “The Middle,” sparked a wave of backlash over Springsteen’s role in the message. The ad featured a series of clips of Springsteen, a Jeep, and open stretches of highway with a voiceover of the singer urging Americans to work past division and toward “the middle.”
“There’s a chapel in Kansas standing on the exact center of the lower 48. It never closes. All are more than welcome to come meet here in the middle,” Springsteen says in the ad. “It’s no secret, the middle has been a hard place to get to lately, between red and blue, between servant and citizen, between our freedom and our fear.”
“Now fear has never been the best of who we are. And as for freedom, it’s not the property of just the fortunate few. It belongs to us all, whoever you are, wherever you’re from. It’s what connects us, and we need that connection,” he continues. “We need the middle. We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground. So we can get there. We can make it to the mountain top, through the desert, and we will cross this divide. Our light has always found its way through the darkness. And there’s hope on the rode up ahead.”
Springsteen has been outspoken in politics and a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump, once calling the chief executive a “threat to democracy.”
“I believe that our current president is a threat to our democracy,” the singer said last year. “He simply makes any kind of reform that much harder. I don’t know if our democracy could stand another four years of his custodianship. These are all existential threats to our democracy and our American way of life.”
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