NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt and 30 Rock star and producer Tina Fey just issued statements reacting to the controversy that’s erupted over Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant during a Nashville stand-up performance:
“I speak for NBC and myself personally when I say we do not condone hate or violence of any kind and I am pleased to see Tracy Morgan apologizing for recent homophobic remarks in his standup appearance,” Greenblatt said, then added, “We will always recognize an artist’s freedom to express him or herself, but not when reckless things are said no matter what the context. Unfortunately, Tracy’s comments reflect negatively on both 30 Rock and NBC — two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations — and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”
Wrote Fey: “I’m glad to hear that Tracy apologized for his comments. Stand-up comics may have the right to ‘work out’ their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience, but the violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community. It also doesn’t line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person.
Fey continued: “I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket. The other producers and I pride ourselves on 30 Rock being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace.”
According to an eye-witness report, Morgan had said in his performance that “the gays needed to quit being p—ies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying” and that if his son that was gay “he better come home and talk to him like a man…or he would pull out a knife and stab that little [n—–] to death.”
Morgan apologized for the rant, saying 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.” But the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a statement afterward saying Morgan needs to do more. The organization urged Morgan to “meet with family members who have lost children to anti-gay violence in order to help him understand exactly why his rant touched so deep a nerve.”