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Tuesday
Jun212011

The Tracy Morgan Apology Tour Returns to the Scene of the Homophobic Crime

Tracy Morgan at the Nashville press conference. (Photo via GLAAD)Comedian Tracy Morgan returned to Nashville today to continue his tour of contrition after a man who went to one of Morgan's comedy sets posted a story on Facebook about Morgan making several homophobic jokes, including that if he had a gay son he would murder him. 

More after the jump.

Morgan teamed up with GLAAD for his apology tour and has so far met with homeless gay teens and made amends with the man he offended at the Nashville show. But, during the same month where the state of New York is one vote away from endorsing the right for gays to marry, The Root pondered aloud if black folks were having the most "homophobic month ever" this June. I'd argue ... not any more than white people. I'm pretty sure every month you can find some high profile homophobia in America across the board. Unless, May gets to be the most pro-gay black month ever because Don Lemon came out of the glass closet and most folks were all "high five."

Two steps forward. Three steps back. Then you put a bow on it and call it "progress!"

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Reader Comments (21)

I'm not advocating homophobia, but as a comedic artist, he shouldn't have to apologize for offending people. If he does, then that rings the death toll for the genre, because comedians are always insulting someone.

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSerenity

@ Serenity

I don't know. I was pretty OK with people raking Michael Richards over the coals for thinking it was appropriate to work calling his audience members "niggers" repeatedly in the middle of a comedy routine. There's funny and then there's just something highly inappropriate. If you're joking about murdering you gay infant son, you probably left satire behind and veered into hate speech, and you should have to just deal with whatever the fall out may be from what you said.

Sometimes as a comic your jokes aren't going to come off as funny at all and you're going to offend people. After that, you have to determine if people just didn't get it or if you over-stepped a boundary. Since gays and lesbians are still targets of violence, including murder, I'd argue he went too far and was going to get some blow back no matter what.

June 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

He should have started with a shout out to the Little Monsters.

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWenzel Dashington

@ DB

i bet someone will say that this is "different."

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

Just another case of Black American celebrities being harshly judge (while under the microscope) for everything they do that does not appease the majority in the entertainment field; (the folks writing the checks) just take a look at Isiah Washington, who even after receiving "gay therapy", still can't find stable work as an actor. But when it's an attack on Black culture: the minority and powerless and "oh so forgiven of any sort of slander against our own people"; then it's talked about for a day or two, but quickly swept under the rug and forgotten; most even receive promotions afterward. Trust that I don't excuse any ignorance of any kind, but I refuse to harass and scrutinize my own in public, when there is never anyone there attempting to protecting us just the same.

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBlaq Mind

if you don't scrutinize ignorance because it is your own, you are in essence excusing it.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

Come on now. He was wrong! Wrong about every word, no! He said he would stab his child if he told him that he or she was a gay? Why Tracy, why murder them? The gay and lesbian community had a right to call him on that one because he is speaking of hatred and violence. Lesson learn, choose your words carefully next time. Remember Isaiah Washington? Very good actor;what did he say that was wrong against gays, he uses the F' word, Faggot. Nigga , faggot and any derogatory word used to hurt anyone is wrong! Blacks , whites, browns, yellows, etc.. We all must take responsiblity for the carelessness of our words. . There is something wrong when this is being condone as, ok. he is a comedian, What!

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterb

This is overkill. The gay agenda gained legs with those suicides(many of which I suspect were spawned with media sensationalizing/martyring the suiciders instead of calling out the foolishness of their decisions) a few months ago and they're going Gustapo with their new found national platform. What Tracy said was foolish but he is a foolish person so a simple sorry would have sufficed. He is a comedian if comedians had to go on 6 week apology tours for every race/sex/gender/relig. denom./nationality etc. They would do two shows a year.

I am for equal rights and against discrimination but lets keep it real. We are getting too sensitive and crybabies are getting too much play. All of this overreaction is and will water down the response to actual incidences of hate. Kind of what has happened with black folks. It won't be long before real incidences will get the blanket "gay-card" response that folks toss around with black folks.

He is a comedian and he was doing an "act" why was it taken so literally? Why didn'y anyone take Kiefer Sutherland to task for the racist things he said in "A Time to Kill? HE WAS ACTING! This was not like a Mel Gibson/John Galiano "Vino Veritas" rant.

I blame Lady Gaga and Glee.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternovanova

@novanova

Many white people, usually the undercover prejudiced types, say the same thing about the "black agenda". They excoriate organizations like the NAACP for rightfully challenging racism and discrimination when they pop up. Young people are being killed and killing themselves because of the (unnecessary) pressure put on them to hide their sexual orientation from society. That is cause for sensitivity. How do you think a gay 13 or 14 year old trying to figure out and come to terms with their sexuality feels when they hear a celebrity like Tracy Morgan (star of a show as big as 30 Rock) saying that they would kill their child if they turned out gay? He was joking when he said it but you must realize that that sentiment is widespread in this country and it's not a joke. That wouldn't be the first time that gay teens had heard the sentiment expressed, and for it to come from someone of Tracy Morgan's calibur could be devastating. Of course, as adults, we would react more rationally to Tracy's statements, but to teenagers who do not have the maturity and ability to look at the world critically it is very hurtful. Period. And statements like Tracy's and more importantly the sentiments behind them are precisely what has driven these TEENAGERS to suicide. As a gay person, now in his early twenties who did attempt suicide at 14 I can say that the risk is very very real and it warrants "all this overreaction".

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames

@ James

"Many white people, usually the undercover prejudiced types, say the same thing about the "black agenda".

Thats what I meant when I said :

"All of this overreaction is and will water down the response to actual incidences of hate. Kind of what has happened with black folks. It won't be long before real incidences will get the blanket "gay-card" response that folks toss around with black folks."

As far as the rest goes...Life is tough, get a helmut.

What about dwarfs? fat people? skinny people? dark skinned people? light skinned people? cross eyed people? Most people have been at some point or another ostricized, picked on, bullied, for things that they cannot change and are still alive to talk about it. Many gay people have gone through horredous struggles and came out OK. No one is trying to dis credit anyones woes but none of the above is worth killing yourself. That should be the message, instead, we have inadvertedly validated the choice of suicide with the media coverage by witch-hunting "bullies" (and "faux-bullies"ie. Tracy Morgan) when the choice to harm/kill oneself lies soley within the person who makes the choice. We cannot control what others think about us or do to us but we can control how we choose to deal with it. Its sad that there are folks out their who would take a comedians bad joke to heart and possibly use it as fuel to harm themselves but folks gotta get a little bit stronger.

The vast majority of people who get bullied make to the other side, a bit worse for wear but ALIVE to live another day. Young people have been taking their own lives for a myriad of reasons and every case is just as tragic. I went to middle school with two people who commited sucide, neither of which were gay. I saw first hand the devistatioin that follows this rash decision and in the end, it solves nothing and kids need to know that them killing themselves really only hurts the folks who actually care about you because the folks that "bullied" you, didn't care that much in the first place.

As far as Tracey Morgan goes, he has become a pawn and a media tool in The gay community/GLAAD's justified and noble crusade for equal rights and the fight to end discrimination, bigotry, injustice, and to empower the lgtb community. That does not sit well to me. It reminds me of Micheal Vick and Chris Brown. There comes a point where enough is enough. It seems to me that whenever something like this happens with a black person in the media they have to be publically whipped over and over again for the whole world to see. A simple heart felt apology would have sufficed and folks could either take it or leave it. This forced, scripted, gun to the back-of-the head media specticle is just gross.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternovanova

maybe tracey morgan should have gotten thicker skin when dealing with the blowback from his comments. if he had some, then he wouldn't have apologized. it's all easy to say what you want when no one criticizes you. but let you start getting bad press, and i bet you'll change your tune.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

@swiv

I'm sure the initial apology was Tracy's he offended some people and that was do, but all of this is the result of a back-room non-publisized threat-filled meeting between Glaad and tracy's bosses at nbc. If he did not do what they want then they pull a boycott against the network. This is about money and power.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternovanova

Wow. I read these comments and just think wow. I am critical of any public person who would utter nonsense like the nonsense this comedian uttered. It wasn't simple ridicule of a group. It was violent rhetoric. And the other "martyrs" mentioned, Chris Brown, Michael Vick, et al., deserved the criticism they received for their violent deeds. It was as justly earned as the ridiculous amounts of money they earn as entertainers.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterColHghts

it's absolutely about money. let the gays start boycotting you and you getting bad press. then your sponsors get pulled. when it affects your boss's bottom line, then that's what shit hits the proverbial fan. same thing happened to don imus. he shouldn't have apologized for his comments, either then. that's his act, and it's been that for decades.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

@ swiv

Tracey Morgan has always been a bit of a bufoon guilty of "cooning" on a regular basis now we can add "bitch" to that. The funny thing is, If he would have just dropped the sincere, heartfelt apology and hit NBC with a "fukupayme" this would have all been forgotten by the premiere of the next season of "30 Rock.

Cee-lo did it the way it needed to be done a few days ago when once again, a person was accused of being "homophobic" for saying "I respect your criticism, but be fair!" The Voice coach wrote Friday. "People enjoyed last night! I'm guessing you're gay? And my masculinity offended you? Well f*** you!" in responseto a scathing review. His apology read "I most certainly am not harboring any sort of negative feeling toward the gay community. I don't have an opinion on people with different religious, sexual or political preferences," he explains. "I'm one of the most liberal artists that I think you will ever meet, and I pride myself on that. Two of the remaining members that I have on my team on The Voice are proud and outspokenly gay. We just did a team performance of 'Everyday People,' and I picked that song for us to do specifically to highlight how we can get along even though we’re so different."

No one is talking about tha any more, Its done.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternovanova

@ novanova

The type of white people who talk about pulling a "black card" almost universally do not care about or understand the history and the difficulties of being black in America. Even the the language, "black (or race) card" trivializes our experience. That is the impression I get from your post.

I agree with you to some extent but I think you underestimate the difficulties of being a gay teenager in American society. All of those things you listed are superficial, and people generally don't consider them "abominations" or "perversions". People don't kick their children out of the house for being fat, skinny, light or dark skinned. People aren't disowned by their families, churches, and communities for being cross-eyed or a dwarf. These are things that the majority of gay people face.

As pessimistic as this may sound, for many gay teens suicide is not much worse than the conditions they have to live with as it is. We cannot expect 13 - 18 year olds to rise above the adversity of being ostracized from their communities, considered "abominations" by their own family, being homeless, and not being able to express their sexual and romantic feelings in a healthy manner like 95% of their peers can. When you combine those things with puberty and the volatility of adolescence it is an absolute recipe for suicide. That is why LGBT teens make up 30% of all teen suicides in this country (likely more, given that some will have kept it a secret) despite the fact that people who identify as LGBT don't even make up 5% of the general population. When such a small group has such a high incidence of suicide, clearly it is not an issue of personal responsibility, it is an issue affecting the group as a whole.

The thing that's so bad about Tracy's comments is that to many LGBT teens they are not a joke. This is how their friends, family, community and society treats them. And it is this treatment that leads DIRECTLY to the sky-high suicide rate amongst LGBT teens. Yes there are gay people who weather the storm and go on to lead healthy, productive lives but ask them if they've ever considered or attempted suicide and I'll bet that 100% of them would say that they had. So I basically feel like Tracy's jokes were, at best, in bad taste. At worst, they could have pushed an impressionable teenager one step closer to being a member of that 30%.

Also, I feel as though your feelings in defense of black celebrities is preventing you from seeing a bigger issue here. While I can agree to some extent that I see a pattern of black male celebrities being taken to task for their mistakes more often than their white counterparts, I don't think that shoulod be the central point of this whole controversy. Just like it shouldn't diminsh the savagery of dog fighting or the brutality of domestic violence, I don't think that the involvement of a black man in this should minimize the gravity of LGBT teen suicide and the degradation that LGBT teens face on a daily basis. An apology was in order, and any racism that may have played a role in how this all unfolded should be secondary to that fact.

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames

@james

First off, When I mentioned the "race card" I was not speaking about the use of it in areeance. I basically said that when folks cry "homophobia" in cases where that is not really the case, then that will do more to "trivialize" actual instances of homophobia. Think "The boy who cried wolf"

Secondly, I am well aware of the difficulties faced by lgtb teens because I have people in my life who are very close to me who have worked with lgtb runaways in a major city, I've heard the stories.

I am not saying that an apology was not warnted, nor that it was a good idea for Tracey to make the joke, and I never tried to make light of the joke Tracy Morgan made durring his set at a comedy club. I also never came to the "defense" of the celebrities I mentioned either. I simply used them to make the connection between black celebrities who for lack of a better term "fuck up" and the relentless, heavyhanded public lashings they get even after they make amends or serve their time. I'm not even really defending tracey morgan, I am just not a fan of the dog and pony show thats going on right now, You would think tracey morgan actual stabbed a gay son or daughter to death. The infraction at hand does not warrant all of this hoopla. He is now being used for political purpose.

Glaad should put their energy into putting real homophobes on blast, not a foolish comedian who is known for being inreverant, beligerant and, well foolish and coonish. It was a statement clearly made in jest and even though given the current climate in the world in terms of issues pertaining to gay kids, bullying and so forth, it should have been interperated in that light instead of being held up as a personal declaration of his real feelings towards homosexuals because it wasnt.

I mean, really, aren't there some southern evangelical baptist parents who tried to beat the gay out of their kid that they can put out there as the face of homophobia???

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternovanova

it's similar to when white folks say that POC complain about racism. i guess all parties are guilty of crying wolf at some point.

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

Sadly, like others of his ilk, Tracy Morgan is a product of his upbringing and childhood indoctrination rooted in the hateful dogma found in the bible that embraces a widely accepted form of bigotry on display from black Africa(Uganda and South Africa) to black communities in the US. Morgan took the position of Abraham, from the biblical tale, who was willing to kill his own son based on his own twisted and repugnant thinking. No divine intervention here; only the objections from people who believe civil and human rights apply to all in this country.

June 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergerard26

@ gerard26

I don't think it goes THAT deep. There really is not much in the bible about homosexuality and the fact remains that even if it is regarded as "sin" no sin is more ofensive to God than any of the other kabillion things considered sinful . However, this "sin" is one sin folks can be 100% sure that they are not guilty of so thats why Christians make such a big deal out of it.They don't want to go hard on lust, fornication, greed, etc. cause then, they'd have to face the fact that they are far from reproach and the very "hate" and disdain that they have towards homosexuals is a sin itself that makes them just as wrong in the eyes of God as they think homosexuals are.

But really, it was just an off-color joke blown out of proportion for political reasons...

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternovanova

@novanova
Hate is not an "off-color joke."

July 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergerard26

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