Tracy Morgan apologizes again for anti-gay jokes, schedules gay-related events
Tracy Morgan is still apologizing for a recent series of anti-gay jokes, telling Russell Simmons on Monday that his words were "indefensible" and adding that if he had a gay son, he might "try to love him even more" -- then chiming in with support for same-sex marriage efforts in New York.
He is also planning to meet later this week with a group of gay youths who have been ostracized by their families, according to E! Online, in addition to sitting down with people who've lost friends or family to anti-gay violence.
"When all of this set in, I realized how hurtful my words were," the "30 Rock" star told hip-hop guru Simmons for Global Grind. "Not asking anyone to feel sorry for me or pity me, but I definitely don't want or need people to defend me.
Morgan got an early career break on "Russell Simmons Presents Def Comedy Jam," and in their conversation Simmons told the comic he was "quite disappointed" when he read about Morgan's Nashville material.
"In my heart, I know that the words I used are indefensible," Morgan said. "I appreciate the love from my friends and fans, but I was wrong. Period."
He told Marc Malkin of E! exclusively that after growing up with a disabled brother and a father who died of AIDS, he knew what it was like to be bullied. "My dad wasn't gay, but I also learned about homophobia then because of how people treated people who were sick with that," Morgan said. "Parents should support and love their kids no matter what."
Also on Morgan's itinerary: A trip back to Tennessee next week, where he'll participate with GLAAD in a news conference protesting the state's recently passed "Don't Say Gay" bill outlawing the discussion of homosexuality in public schools before grade nine.
Morgan issued an apology Friday for jokes calling homosexuality a choice, minimizing anti-gay bullying and saying he'd stab his son to death if the boy were gay. Controversy brewed after a detailed Facebook post from a gay fan who'd attended the June 3 show gained attention over the course of several days.
NBC and Tina Fey accepted the apology Friday while reiterating that the jokes had been unacceptable. Some gay-rights groups, however, said it would take more than an apology to end the controversy, with one suggesting Morgan meet with families and friends who'd lost loved ones to anti-gay violence.
"I guess the reason I am successful is because I am so unfiltered," Morgan told Simmons. "And sometimes as a result I say really stupid [things]. The truth is if I had a gay son, I would love him just as much as if he was straight ... I might have to try to love even more because I know of the difficulty that he would have in society."
Enough? Or is the jury still out?
— Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Tracy Morgan in 2010. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times