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Tracy Morgan apologizes for anti-gay slurs

June 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Comedian Tracy Morgan is facing heated criticism Friday after a stand-up performance in Nashville.

During the show, Morgan said the issue of gay bullying was overblown, and suggested he would react violently if his own son told him he was gay.

In West Hollywood, the three-day LA Pride celebration began Friday. Many in the city are not laughing at Morgan's recent routine.

"Homophobia is one thing," said Pride participant Sharon Williams. "But the fact that he is advocating violence against his own child, and people have committed violence against their own children who are coming out. I hope that he reflects on what he said and thinks about the impact on the community."

Tracy Morgan's comedy act in Nashville was a riff against gay kids, filled with so many slurs that clips of the performance were removed from the Internet. But Kevin Rogers saw it in person.

"The violent aspect of that comment, I actually even thought at a point, well maybe he is at least joking about that, not that that's something to joke about, but that's pretty serious," said Rogers.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is demanding from Morgan more than the apology already offered.

"There are parents rejecting their children. They take from this message that it's OK, not just to laugh at gay kids, but it's a green light for bullying, it's a green light for rejection. It's a green light for discrimination," said Jarrett Barrios, president of GLAAD.

"He's not prejudiced or in any way homophobic or anything like that. He's joking. He's a comedian," said Jamie Masada, a comedian who works at the Laugh Factory in L.A.

Jamie Masada of the Laugh Factory says Morgan was attempting edgy humor that missed the mark. Masada says he's seen worse here, like the racist rant from Michael Richards.

"He said it with hatred. He didn't have no joke. He didn't have no punch line to it. And I asked him to come into the club and apologize to everybody. He never apologized," said Masada.

Morgan is sorry, saying in a statement Friday: "I am not a hateful person and don't condone 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 is not funny in any context."

Other celebrities who have been called on the carpet for slurs include Kobe Bryant and Isaiah Washington. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried lost his job because of offensive tweets about Japanese tsunami victims.

GLAAD now wants action from Morgan.

"We have also invited him to talk to parents, mothers whose children have been killed due to anti-gay violence, and in talking them, understand how his words, the images which he conveys, they matter," said Barrios.

GLAAD has not received a response from Morgan yet. GLAAD also wants a condemnation from NBC of Morgan's remarks.

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