Tracy Morgan – now what?

Tracy Morgan – now what?

So now that Tracy Morgan’s people have issued an apology, what now?

UPDATE via GLAAD: NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt and 30 Rock creator Tina Fey have released statements expressing their condemnation of his words, and assurances that NBC is taking this seriously.

Writes Bob Greenblatt:
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. 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.

Tina Fey’s statement is undeniably written in her own, distinct voice:
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.
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.

In case you’re catching up, audience member Kevin Rogers reported that a lengthy homophobic rant was part of actor/comedian Tracy Morgan’s routine during a performance last week at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. You can read Rogers’s account of the incident all over the internet – but the most disturbing was Morgan’s statement that “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.”

Morgan’s management issued this statement this morning:
“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.”

So that’s where things are now. Morgan’s right to admit that violence against LGBT young people is not funny in any context. Now he needs to understand why.

That’s why GLAAD has offered to arrange a meeting between Morgan and a family whose LGBT son or daughter has been the victim of severe violence because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. GLAAD has also offered to arrange a meeting between Morgan and LGBT young people who have been hurt by parental rejection.

Tracy Morgan now has the opportunity to meet people who have been impacted by LGBT violence face-to-face, to hear their stories, and to understand exactly why his rant touched so deep a nerve.