Tracy Morgan is no stranger to creating controversy nearly every time he opens his mouth, but his latest remarks have set off a far bigger firestorm than that time he said he’d like to sex up Sarah Palin. According to an attendee of Morgan’s June 3 stand-up show in Nashville, Morgan went off on a homophobic tirade that has already drawn fire from GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, who have demanded apologies from both Morgan and his even 30 Rock employers at NBC Universal, as well as many other, far angrier sources who have begun calling for his removal from the show. While Morgan’s representatives say that a statement on the matter is forthcoming, and so far the only source of the allegations is the attendee who wrote about it in a Facebook post [UPDATE: Morgan has now addressed the remarks; see below], one Kevin Rogers, his account does seem to be corroborated by Nashville’s the Ryman Auditorium, who issued a response saying it “regrets that people were offended by statements made by Tracy Morgan during his June 3 appearance” and that “The Ryman does not control the content presented by people appearing on its stage, nor does it endorse any of the views of, or statements made by, such persons.”
So what did he say? According to Rogers, Morgan began by decrying the idea that being gay isn’t a choice—something he’s said before, which famously caused an audience walkout from his 2009 Carnegie Hall show. (Morgan’s reasoning: “God don’t make no mistakes.”) He then took it further, mocking the “It Gets Better” campaign by saying that “gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying,” while also insisting that “gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it.” And in what will likely prove to be the statement that everyone remembers this incident by, he said that if his son was gay, he better “talk to him like a man” and not in a high-pitched voice, “or he would pull out a knife and stab that little n***er to death.” Morgan concluded by saying that “he didn't fucking care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a fucking dick up their ass, they can take a fucking joke.”
Again, this is all one person’s account, although the statement issued by the Ryman would seem to corroborate that there was some incident that caused the audience to be upset—and TMZ has a separate report that there was “a smattering of boos” and that several people walked out because “Morgan’s entire act was filled with offensive gay jokes.” And again, this is nothing new for Morgan (or for stand-up comedians, for that matter), but it’s a story that’s already threatening to become one of the most controversial moments of his career. We’ll update when Morgan releases his promised statement.
UPDATE: Morgan has now issued a response, confirming he did make these remarks: "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. 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.”