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The Rock weighs in on Oliver Anthony controversy

Since his song “Rich Men North of Richmond” became a viral sensation earlier in August, Oliver Anthony has racked up a number of famous fans and one household name has written voicing his support for the musician.

The former factory worker became an overnight star after radiowv shared a clip of him singing to YouTube on August 7. After conservative podcaster Joe Rogan reposted the video to X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, Anthony’s music spread even further—at the time of writing, the footage has received 45 million views.

Now, the Farmville, Virginia, resident counts Republican politician Marjorie Taylor Greene, conservative commentator Matt Walsh and television host Kari Lake among his fanbase—and now, apparently, The Rock.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in March 2023.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in March 2023. The actor commented on a post by controversial country singer Oliver Anthony, praising the overnight sensation for his “class & kindness.”
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images Entertainment

Posting to his Instagram account @oliver_anthony_music on August 26, the country singer shared two screenshots of his Spotify listener count. In the first, presumably taken before his sudden rise to fame, Anthony has 374 listeners. In the second, he has more than 4 million.

“I was thrilled at 300 and I’m thrilled today,” he wrote alongside the snapshots. “I’m beyond thankful for everyone.”

The Rock—real name Dwayne Johnson—commented on the post, writing: “Great to connect with u brother. Way [you] handle your fame & influence with class & kindness. Keep kicking a** and see u down the road.”

As Anthony’s fame has surged, the singer has come under increased scrutiny. With a fanbase that contains many who hold conservative views and lyrics that can be viewed as populist, his own political outlook has come into question.

Although Anthony described himself in a video as “dead center,” he has come under fire for allegedly promoting antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theories, with a playlist of problematic videos discovered on his YouTube account.

However, Anthony also hit out at conservative listeners for praising his songs, without understanding the context behind the lyrics.

“The one thing that has bothered me is seeing people wrap politics up into this,” Anthony said in a video posted to YouTube.

Oliver Anthony
Singer and songwriter Oliver Anthony performs “Rich Men North of Richmond” on his Youtube channel. He has topped charts and garnered high-profile fans of his music.
Courtesy of Oliver Anthony Music

“It’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news try to identify with me, like I’m one of them. It’s aggravating seeing certain musicians and politicians act like we’re buddies, and act like we’re fighting the same struggle, like we’re trying to present the same message.”

Although one of Hollywood’s most prominent stars, Johnson’s political views have also previously been questioned. The 51-year-old actor spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2000, but has described himself as a “centrist.” He supported Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

In the past, the former wrestler admitted he had considered running for president, but shelved the idea to focus on his three daughters—Simone, 22, Jasmine, 7, and Tiana, 5.

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