Kid Rock has offered a lengthy response to criticism and protest surrounding use of the Confederate flag during concerts. His publicist confirms what many of his fans already knew: Rock hasn’t used the flag in years. In fact, there’s a very specific reason he packed it up for good.

Nick Stern tells the Detroit Free Press that when Kid Rock accepted the NAACP’s Great Expectations Award in May 2011, he was humbled and overwhelmed. That night, he made the quiet decision to remove the Confederate Flag from his stage show. Stern goes on to say that it’s actually been more than five years since the singer appeared with it.

“They’re protesting something he’s not even doing,” Stern tells the Free Press.

The National Action Network led the protests, calling on Chevy and the Detroit Historical Museum to distance themselves from Kid Rock (real name Robert Ritchie) until he agreed to stop waving the flag. Rev. Charles Williams II tells the newspaper that they thought he was still using the flag, adding that he’d defended its use in the past.

“My biggest frustration is that (the NAN) are using Kid Rock’s name and Chevy’s name to get attention for themselves based on something he wasn’t even doing,” Stern says, “and that they didn’t even know that.”

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Until Wednesday, the only comment from the singer’s team was an email to Fox News' Megyn Kelly which read: “Please tell the people protesting that they can kiss my a—.” Stern says that message was directed at the Detroit chapter of the NAN, and should not have been interpreted as a defiant statement.

Learn More About the Original Protest