On June 3, comedian Tracy Morgan took the stage at Ryman Auditorium in Nashvile, TN and “delivered a few lines about his feelings on homosexuality.” What followed, as reported by one attendee, was a unbridled homophobic rant. Calling homosexuality inherently “bullshit,” Morgan declared that “if my son were gay,” Morgan would “pull out a knife and stab” him if he failed to “talk to [him] like a man”:
“God don’t make no mistakes; all this gay stuff is bullshit,” Morgan said, adding the following about lesbians: “There is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man.”
And then it got personal: “If my son were gay he better come home and talk to me like a man and not [like a homosexual — Morgan mimicked a feminine voice] or I’d pull out a knife and stab that little N***** to death.”
Morgan released a statement today apologizing to the LGBT community and his fans for going “too far” with a joke that “was not funny in any context.” The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) agrees and slammed the “hateful remarks that mock youth suicides and the very real emotional and sometimes physical bullyiing LGBT kids face on a daily basis.” The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) called on Morgan 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.” Even GOP Rep. Allen West (FL) accidentally condemned the remarks.
However, as Alyssa Rosenberg notes, Morgan’s anti-gay tirade is hardly new: “In 2009, he said sexual orientation is a choice in a performance that got him applauded by Spike Lee and Jane Krakowski.” But this latest rant, she explains, is “a very inconvenient form of crazy” since Tina Fey accepted an award from GLAAD this spring for her work on 30 Rock. Indeed, HRC has called on NBC Universal to “come forward and condemn these atrocious comments.”
HRC is refusing to accept Morgan’s apology. “Tracy Morgan exercised extremely poor judgment and he did the right thing by apologizing. But that’s just not enough. He’s a role model and Morgan now has a responsibility to make amends for his horribly hurtful and dangerous ‘comedy’ routine. He also needs to go further than his apology and correct the record: no one should feel ashamed because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and they should definitely not become a victim of violence. Words have consequences and Morgan should be held to a higher standard. Until he does something meaningful, his brand will remain tarnished.”
Kevin Rogers, the attendee who reported Morgan’s comments, appeared on CNN today to discuss what occurred. In describing the audience’s reaction to Morgan’s rant, he said he’s “ashamed” to admit that there was “a lot of applause.” Rogers also noted that, because of his publicized role in exposing Morgan’s comments, he had to come out to his mother before this appearance.