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Tracy Morgan returns to Nashville and apologizes again for anti-gay joke: 'I hurt people with this'

June 21, 2011 |  2:48 pm

Tracy Morgan returned to Nashville and again apologized for his comments during a recent performance there in which he reportedly said that if he discovered his son were gay, he "would pull out a knife and stab" him.

Appearing at the Nashville convention with Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,  and Kevin Rogers, an audience member at that June 3 performance who publicized Morgan's remarks, the costar of NBC's "30 Rock" was low-key and contrite.

"I apologize to Kevin and people who were at the show," Morgan said. "I want to apologize to my friends, and my family and fans and everyone in every community who were offended by this. ... I don't have a hateful bone in my body. I don't believe that anyone should be bullied or just made to feel bad about who they are. ... I really don't care who you love, same sex or not, as long as you have the ability to love."

Morgan added, "I pride myself on 18 years of stand-up, using it to heal people and not hurt them. I hurt people with this."

After speaking, the three left the stage without taking any questions from the audience.

The comedian's latest apology comes two days after he met with gay, lesbian and transgender homeless youths in New York and with Elke Kennedy,  whose 20-year-old son, Sean, was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime. She then founded an anti-violence group called Sean's Last Wish.

Although several comedians in recent years, including Eddie Murphy, Eddie Griffin and Andrew "Dice" Clay have poked fun at gays and at times have made controversial comments, Graddick said Morgan's remarks definitely crossed a line.

"This went far beyond the bounds of humor by any reasonable standard," he said. "The notion of violence against children and that kind of language is unacceptable and inappropriate. The culture has changed, and while comedy often treads a line, that kind of language can't be tolerated."

Graddick said of Morgan: "He's really been stepping up to the plate. I believe he was trying to be funny, but that's not the kind of language that passes as acceptable."


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-- Greg Braxton