Comedian and "30 Rock" actor Tracy Morgan issued an apology today for his vicious tirade against gay people during a standup show in Nashville.
"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," Morgan said in the statement. "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."
Audience member Kevin Rogers, who is gay, wrote on his Facebook page about Morgan's over-the-top comments at the show. The item, titled "Why I No Longer 'Like' Tracy Morgan, stated, "I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I'm well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor. I have very thick skin when it comes to humor; I can dish and I can take."
Rogers continued: "What I can't take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay s**t was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that 'Born this Way' is bulls**t, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because 'God don't make no mistakes.' Morgan's raunchy lewd statements also included how he'd stab his son to death if he said he was gay."
The Ryman Auditorium responded in a statement about the June 3, 2011 appearance, saying the theater "regrets that people were offended by statements" Morgan made, adding that it "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."
Morgan's rep issued a statement to gay rights Web site Unicorn Booty saying, "There is no comment. Thank you."
Calls to Morgan's rep by ABC News were not immediately returned.
This is not the first time that Morgan has been accused of homophobic slurs. In a 2009 Carnegie Hall standup show, audience members walked out within the first 30 minutes after Morgan again stated that homosexuality was a choice. An audience member told the New York Daily News, "There was a continuous flow of people getting up and leaving throughout the show. Middle-aged women were the most flabbergasted when he started mimicking explicit sex acts on stage."