Penance: Tracy Morgan to Return to Nashville to Apologize

Comic to return to scene of the crime to make amends for homophobic remarks

ByABC News
June 10, 2011, 10:13 AM

June 14, 2011— -- Comedian and "30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan apologized for his tirade against gay people during a stand-up show in Nashville, Tenn., and now he's planning to return to the city in an attempt to make amends.

He will return to Nashville next week to apologize in person to the people in the audience he offended, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He will also reportedly create a public service announcement and meet with members of the community, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Morgan wants to say he's sorry and will back it up with actions, according to GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, who spoke with the comedian.

Details of when and where Morgan would appear were not available.

According to the Washington Post, Morgan told Russell Simmons in an interview that his "unfiltered" style of comedy sometimes results in him saying "stupid" stuff.

"The truth is if I had a gay son, I would love him just as much as if he was straight," Morgan said. "I might have to try to love even more because I know of the difficulty that he would have in society." He told Simmons his "heart is committed to giving everyone the same rights that I deserve for myself. I don't care if you love the same sex as long as you have the ability to love someone."

"I want to apologize to my fans and the gay and 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 a statement last week. "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."

However, Morgan's co-stars and Hollywood colleagues expressed disappointment in the actor. On Friday, Tina Fey, "30 Rock's" creator and executive producer, said publicly that she was personally disturbed by the violent nature of Morgan's remarks against gay people.

"I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian co-workers at "30 Rock," without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket," Fey said.

On Saturday, "30 Rock" co-star Cheyenne Jackson, who is gay, told that he is "disgusted and appalled" by Morgan's actions. Jackson said, "The devastating repercussions of hate-filled language manifest in very real ways for today's LGBTQ youth. I've known Tracy for two years, spent many long hours with him on set, and I want to believe that this behavior is not at the core of who he is. I'm incredibly disappointed by his actions, and hope that his apology is sincere."

Even Chris Rock, who initially offered Morgan a tweet of support amid the outrage against him, is now taking back his words. The comedian tweeted on Friday, "I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in world where Tracy Morgan can't say foul inappropriate s**t."

But a day later, Rock rescinded his support, tweeting, "Tracy Morgan is a tad off, we all know that so when Tracy says something I usually don't take it anymore serious than I would a statement from Gary Busey or Flavor Flav. When I first heard the statement I thought it was offensive but it also reminded me of my father saying I'll kill you if you ever bring home a white girl, but after reading everything Tracy said, wow I get it that s**t wasn't called for, and I don't support it at all. Now can I please go to the Tony awards without getting my a** kicked."

The criticism against Morgan came immediately he made the comments at his stand-up show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. 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, said, "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.

"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."