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Friday, June 10, 2011

Truth Wins Out Calls On Comedian Tracy Morgan to Respond to Allegations of Anti-Gay Tirade Onstage at Nashville Show

Truth Wins Out logo
Friday, June 10, 2011

Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Phone: 917-691-5118

TWO Calls on Comedian Tracy Morgan to Respond to Allegations of Anti-Gay Tirade Onstage in Nashville

Publicist Response to Allegations:  "No Comment."

MEMPHIS - Truth Wins Out is alarmed at allegations that well-known comedian Tracy Morgan departed from his usual stand-up routine to unleash an anti-gay tirade during his June 3 performance at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Eyewitness Kevin Rogers, who attended with his partner and a friend, gives a firsthand account which describes how Morgan's entire demeanor changed as he allegedly claimed that being gay is a choice, that homosexuality is something that kids learn from the media, and that gay youth victims of bullying are simply "whining." Furthermore, he allegedly said that if his son was gay and "whined" about being a bullying victim, he would kill him, using words that will not be repeated here.  Morgan is also said to have called upon President Obama to "man up" and stop speaking out for LGBT kids.

According to the report, these were only some of the most egregious parts of this anti-gay tirade. When reached for comment by several reporters, his publicist responded simply, "No comment."

"In an era when strong role models like CNN's Don Lemon are coming out, and public figures from the San Francisco Giants to the President of the United States are loudly proclaiming their support for LGBT youth victims of anti-gay bullying, it is disgraceful for any role model to inject such hatred into the discourse," said Truth Wins Out Director of Social Media Evan Hurst.

"The last year has seen far too many reports of gay or gay-perceived youth either attempting or completing suicide as a result of anti-gay bullying," Continued Hurst. "It is highly disturbing that Morgan and his representatives have chosen not to comment on this. In light of the current climate toward LGBT youth in many parts of the country, and considering the fact that this is far from the first time Morgan has been accused of homophobia, I would think these allegations deserve a response."

Tracy Morgan has been accused of on-stage homophobia before, most notably after a 2009 Carnegie Hall performance, which reportedly elicited gasps and walkouts from the audience.  If the accuracy of the Nashville account is confirmed, it would seem that his hatred has reached a new level.

Morgan has worked under 30 Rock writer and producer Tina Fey since 2006. Ms. Fey has a long record of supporting LGBT causes, and so we would ask her to respond to these allegations as well. Was Fey aware of this alleged "comedy" in Morgan's show?  Regardless, we would ask that she forthrightly condemn any sort of anti-gay hatred coming from one of her 30 Rock stars.

"I went to Tracy Morgan's show to laugh and enjoy someone who I thought was a brilliant comic," said Kevin Rogers, who was in the audience that night."
"I left feeling like the joke was on me."

LGBT people are still fighting for equality all across America, and many of our teens are still very much at risk.  Sadly, reports of gay youth taking their own lives due to anti-gay bullying have become all too common.  Tennessee's gay teens are in particular danger as the state legislature has endeavored over the past year to make life as difficult as possible for them, going as far as to move a bill prohibiting teachers from even acknowledging their existence in schools. Tracy Morgan is a role model to many young people, including gay kids.  If these reports are true, Mr. Morgan owes them, and us all, a full apology.

"Tracy Morgan needs to respond to these allegations," said Hurst. "Comedians have long pushed the envelope in tackling controversial subjects.  Indeed, it's part of their job description, and good comedians are able to do this and keep everybody laughing at the same time.  However, abject hatred directed at vulnerable kids is not comedy, by anyone's definition.  If these reports are true, we expect a full explanation and apology.  'No comment' simply will not do."

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.


TWO Responds to Tracy Morgans Anti-Gay Meltdown

Tracy Morgan has apologized for, and thus confirmed, the anti-gay meltdown he had in Nashville onstage at the Ryman Auditorium:
"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. 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."
We at Truth Wins Out appreciate Tracy's apology.  We are glad that he recognizes that he hurt and offended people. However, questions, sadly, remain.  When Michael Richards andMel Gibson had their respective meltdowns, people rightly asked where those sentiments actually came from.  And the fact of the matter is, parts of Tracy's Nashville rant have appeared in earlier performances.

So we wonder:  Where do Tracy Morgan's anti-gay sentiments come from?  What leads him to go only so far with anti-gay sentiments and then suddenly let loose with one of the most vicious tirades imaginable?  Does he understand why people -- LGBT or not, in Tennessee and beyond -- were so hurt by what he said?

Again, we appreciate that he recognized a need to come forward and apologize.  But is the damage already done?   

Tracy Morgan should be an "equal-opportunity jokester." Sarah SilvermanLisa Lampanelliand Zack Galiafanakis are. Richard Pryor certainly was.  In this case, though, there still seems to be a certain animus involved, as well as a pattern, that we don't quite understand.  Will this be the last time Tracy Morgan makes the news for unleashing anger against gay people?  We certainly hope so, but only Tracy Morgan can effectively answer these questions.

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.

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