Tracy Morgan has issued an apology after unleashing a slew of homophobic remarks during a comedy show in Nashville on June 3.
“I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others,” the “30 Rock” star said in a statement to Access Hollywood.
“While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context,” his statement continued.
Morgan’s comments made headlines after Kevin Rogers, who was in attendance at the June 3 show, wrote a Facebook post titled, “Why I No Longer ‘Like’ Tracy Morgan — A Must Read.”
According to Rogers – who called himself a longtime fan of the “Saturday Night Live” alum – Morgan’s rant included the comedian saying he did not believe women could be lesbians and said if his son ever told him he was gay that he would stab him.
(Click here for Rogers’ entire account of Morgan’s tirade.)
The Ryman Auditorium, where the show took place, also issued a statement on Friday.
“The Ryman Auditorium regrets that people were offended by statements made by Tracy Morgan during his June 3 appearance,” the venue said in the statement. “The Ryman does not control the content presented by people appearing on its stage, nor does it endorse any of the views of, or statements made by, such persons.”
Prior to Morgan’s apology, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Jarrett Barrios released a statement.
“Tracy Morgan’s management needs to investigate these allegations and should they prove true, we call on him to remove these violently anti-gay remarks from his show and send a strong message that anti-gay violence is not something to joke about,” Barrios said.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Vice President of Communications, Fred Sainz, also issued a statement, saying, “Hateful remarks that mock youth suicides and the very real emotional and sometimes physical bullying LGBT kids face on a daily basis have no place in a comedy routine. I’m shocked that Tracy Morgan would find humor in so viciously attacking our youth. If these allegations are true, Tracy Morgan must immediately accept responsibility and apologize. His employer, NBC Universal, also must come forward and condemn these atrocious comments.”
(NBC Universal is Access Hollywood’s parent company.)
PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) also spoke out about the incident on Friday.
“At a time when bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth is at an all-time high – when kids are being assaulted, are dying – to joke about committing violence against a child is outrageous and reprehensible. As a celebrity, Mr. Morgan needs to understand that his words have power; inciting violence against gay and lesbian kids in the name of comedy – stating that he would stab his own son to death if he was gay – is absolutely unconscionable. A simple apology is not enough – Mr. Morgan must take meaningful action to prove the sincerity of that apology,” Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National, said in a statement.