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'30 Rock's' Tracy Morgan issues apology for anti-gay remarks

June 10, 2011 | 10:53 am

Morgan Tracy Morgan apologized Friday after coming under fire for anti-gay remarks he made during a stand-up performance in Nashville last week.

“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,” Morgan said in a statement. “I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others. 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.”

Photo gallery: Celebrity apologies

Morgan’s remarks were slammed around the Web and by groups like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Human Rights Campaign. And it all stemmed from a Facebook post (“Why I No Longer ‘Like’ Tracy Morgan—A Must Read” [Warning: contains profanity]) written by an audience member, Kevin Rogers, who attended the June 3 Nashville show. In it, Rogers details Morgan’s anti-gay tirade which included the "Saturday Night Live" alum saying he’d “pull out a knife and stab” his son if he were gay and talked in a high-pitched voice.

It wasn’t long before the comments drew criticism.

GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said: “Tracy Morgan’s management needs to investigate these allegations and should they prove true, we call on him 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.”

The Human Rights Campaign, a lesbian, gay and transgender civil rights organization, also joined in the condemnation and called on the actor to issue an apology. Following Morgan’s statement Friday, though, the organization said the comedian needed to do more.

“Tracy Morgan exercised extremely poor judgment and he did the right thing by apologizing,” said Fred Sainz, HRC vice president for communications. “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.”

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Photo: Actor Tracy Morgan attends the premiere of Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios' "Rio" at Grauman's Chinese Theater on April 10, 2011, in Los Angeles. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images