Tracy Morgan, a cast member of the NBC series "30 Rock" and a stand-up comic, has apologized after making derogatory comments against gays and lesbians at a recent comedy show.
Facebook user Kevin Rogers said he attended the event, which took place at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on June 3 (Warning: Contains offensive and explicit comments).
"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," Morgan said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com on Friday, June 10. "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."
Rogers quoted Morgan, 42, as saying that being gay is a "choice" and that lesbians pretend to be attracted to other women sexually and actually just hate men. .
Rogers said Morgan also made fun of homosexuals amid a recent teen bullying wave, adding that they should stand up for themselves rather than "whine" about their treatment. He also quoted Morgan as saying that if he had a gay son, he would stab him to death him if he was unable to talk to the comedian "like a man."
Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organization that "fights anti-gay religious extremism," said on its website that it was "alarmed" after reading about Morgan's reported remarks and had demanded he apologize.
"Comedians have long pushed the envelope in tackling controversial subjects," Truth Wins Out Director of Social Media Evan Hurst said in a statement. "However, abject hatred directed at vulnerable kids is not comedy, by anyone's definition."
Morgan has in recent years made derogatory remarks against homosexuals during his stand-up shows but not appear to spark a media backlash then, a witness told OnTheRedCarpet.com, adding that scores of audience members appeared to react favorably.
"The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke," Rogers wrote on his Facebook page, regarding the recent Morgan show he says he witnessed. "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."
A spokesperson for the Ryman Auditorium said it "regrets that people were offended by statements made by Tracy Morgan during his June 3 appearance," adding: "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."
Gay rights group PFLAG National Executive Director Jody Huckaby said in a statement that Morgan's apology was "not enough," saying in a statement that the star "must take meaningful action to prove the sincerity of that apology."
"30 Rock" cast member Tina Fey said in a statement carried by the Hollywood Reporter that Morgan's "rant" was "disturbing" but that he is not a "hateful man."
"I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers '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," she said.
Fellow cast member Alec Baldwin, who in 2007 also found himself the target of a media firestorm after calling his teenage daughter a "thoughtless little pig" in a voice mail message that was leaked online, also appeared to address Morgan's tirade on Friday, Tweeting: "Oh that Tracy."