Comedian Tracy Morgan and star of NBC's 30 Rock is currently under fire from allegations he launched into an over-the-top homophobic rant while performing in a club in Tennessee.
Update: Morgan Apologizes
To be clear, I did express it’s healthy to be skeptical to the credibility of a Facebook post when I posted this diary. My call to action was for Morgan, or his people, to address this issue. “No comment,” is neither a confirmation, nor a denial.
The story has hit the New York Times and that’s hard to ignore. In response to community activists, bloggers, and a call from the gay rights org GLAAD, fierce response on social networking, Morgan has released this apology:
“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. 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.”
Meh. Still don’t think there’s anything funny about sticking a knife in your own gay son. Maybe he should workshop his routine before trying it out in big spaces.
The allegations began when a Facebook user, Kevin Rogers posted a note to Facebook. It's just shocking and disgusting.
So tonight was the night, Tracy Morgan in the hallowed halls of the Ryman Auditorium. I always giggle a little bit when I think that the legends of country music must be rolling over in their graves knowing that there are raunchy comics on their stage. I've been a big fan of his since his days at SNL. The show was your typical hysterical dick, cum and pussy humor… I have to say it was hilarious and well worth at least 40% of the $86 we spent per ticket to see him. I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I'm well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor. I have very thick skin when it comes to humor; I can dish and I can take. What I can't take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that "Born this Way" is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because "God don't make no mistakes" (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake). He said that 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. He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying. He mentioned 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. He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death. He mentioned that Barack Obama needed to man up and quit being all down with this just because he has a wife and two daughters. All of this being followed by thunderous cheer and "You go Tracys". Tracy then said 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.
The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke. His entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night. He was truly filled with some hate towards us. As far as I could see 10 to 15 people walked out. I had to fight myself to stay seated, but I knew if I got up… he won. He wanted to piss people off and get a rise. I didn't let him win by chasing me off, he surely didn't get any applause or laughter from me after that point – mainly because he was no longer funny to me. I wasn't holding back, it just wasn't funny. I won't even get started on his rant about how women should be home cooking him a fucking meal and not becoming CEOs or him talking about fucking the moms of retards.
Once again, I can take a joke. I find all sorts of things that are inappropriate funny. Life is too serious to not laugh and enjoy some humor. I now no longer enjoy Tracy Morgan's humor. It's sad that I now have to take some inventory of my love of "30 Rock".
I'm not angry… just very very very disappointed.
Clearly there's a lot to object to, but there's nothing funny about threats of violence, and actually murder, as in this passage:
He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death.
This is not talk that can be tolerated. Southern Poverty Law Center's analysis of 14 years of hate crime statistics in 2010 showed that "gays and lesbians are far more likely to be victims of a violent hate crime than any other minority group in the United States." Casual declarations that being gay, or gender non-conforming are punishable by death are not funny. This is barbaric.
Truth Wins Out blog has called on Morgan to respond. From their press release:
Furthermore, he allegedly said that if his son was gay and “whined” about being a bullying victim, he would kill him, using words that will not be repeated here. Morgan is also said to have called upon President Obama to “man up” and stop speaking out for LGBT kids. According to the report, these were only some of the most egregious parts of this anti-gay tirade.
LGBT people are still fighting for equality all across America, and many of our teens are still very much at risk. Sadly, reports of gay youth taking their own lives due to anti-gay bullying have become all too common. Tennessee’s gay teens are in particular danger as the state legislature has endeavored over the past year to make life as difficult as possible for them, going as far as to move a bill prohibiting teachers from even acknowledging their existence in schools. Tracy Morgan is a role model to many young people, including gay kids. If these reports are true, Mr. Morgan owes them, and us all, a full apology.
“Tracy Morgan needs to respond to these allegations,” said [Evan] Hurst. ”Comedians have long pushed the envelope in tackling controversial subjects. Indeed, it’s part of their job description, and good comedians are able to do this and keep everybody laughing at the same time. However, abject hatred directed at vulnerable kids is not comedy, by anyone’s definition. If these reports are true, we expect a full explanation and apology.”
I caution that I am not presuming a Facebook post is the gospel truth, I like to extend someone the benefit of the doubt.
But, that said, Mr. Morgan does have a history. The popular LGBT blog AfterElton began observing a consistent pattern of homophobia in Morgan's brand of comedy back in 2008.
And The New York Daily News reported back in 2009, that Morgan caused an exodus from a performance in Carnegie Hall, in part because of homophobic rhetoric.
Audience members walk out of Tracy Morgan's bawdy Carnegie Hall performance
“People seemed to not be laughing at his jokes, but more because they were shocked and appalled with what was coming out of his mouth,” reports one audience member. Morgan talked trash about homosexuality (saying it’s “a choice,” which drew gasps), drugs, pornography and what he calls “politricks” — far edgier subjects than what his alter ego, Jordan, gets air time for.
And I don't know if this is some bit that went horribly awry. But, Like Truth Wins Out, I think an address is in order. Morgan's publicist might agree. The story is being reported on a handful of LGBT and mainstream celebrity gossip blogs, including Jezebel and is fast proliferating on Twitter right now, and also on Facebook. It's not likely to be a story that blows over.
Update: From celebrity gossip blog Oh No, They Didn’t!
Tracy Morgan’s publicist, Nicole Chabot sent us a chilly “There is no comment, thank you for your inquiry.” after we contacted her voicing our concern for the safety or Morgan’s child.
His comments are not being well recieved there, and on many blogs. Looks like Nicole Chabot might have some heavy lifting ahead.