Last week Tracy Morgan was plagued with headlines of homophobia and anti-gay speech. In a June 3rd stand-up comedy routine in Nashville, TN, the 30 Rock star went on an offensive rant in which he suggested he would kill his son if he were gay that sparked outrage from gay rights groups, celebrities and even his bosses — Tina Fey and Chairman of NBC Entertainment, Bob Greenblatt.
Today, Morgan is singing a new tune. The actor has agreed to return to Tennessee with GLAAD to apologize to audience members who were directly offended by his remarks. Morgan will join with GLAAD in protest against the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which outlaws the discussion of homosexuality before the ninth grade in public schools.
In an Interview with E!, Morgan said “I know how bad bullying can hurt. I was bullied when I was a kid. I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987. My dad wasn’t gay, but I also learned about homophobia then because of how people treated people who were sick with that…Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that.”
Russell Simmons says upon hearing about Morgan’s controversial comedy routine, he immediately called the actor Friday to tell him how upset he was.
“He was so happy to hear my voice. He had been crying. He was really devastated. He spilled his guts to me.”
During an interview with Simmons for Global Grind, Morgan apologized for his rhetoric and expressed his support for gay marriage.
“Of all the sicknesses, there is probably none more abusive than homophobia. My heart is committed to giving everyone the same rights that I deserve for myself,” Morgan said. “I don’t care if you love the same sex as long as you have the ability to love someone I am deeply sorry for the comments I made. What I am most sad about is the comments I made about kids and bullying.”
In days to come, Morgan and Simmons will join voices with GLAAD and meet with homeless gay teens in New York whose parents have disowned them. “Meeting with gay and transgender youth shunned by their parents and families who have lost loved ones to anti-gay violence is an important first step. These meetings will help Tracy better understand that no one should be treated differently or subjected to violence,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.
Morgan has also committed to participate in GLAAD’s upcoming ‘Amplify Your Voice’ PSA campaign to combat anti-LGBT bullying.
Four years ago, Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington was fired after using a gay slur during an off-camera altercation with co-star T.R. Knight. Although NBC’s Chairman of Entertainment, Bob Greenblatt spoke out to say “this kind of behavior will not be tolerated,” there has been no word that the 30 Rock star will be replaced.
GLAAD does not want Morgan to lose his job. “Our goal has always been that he sends out a positive message to his fans, parents, and gay and lesbian youth. He has committed to doing that and turning this into a positive experience. We are not asking for him to be fired from NBC,” said GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro.