Morgan Wallen made a video statement, apologized for saying the n-word

2019 iHeartCountry Festival

There were a few surprising elements to the Morgan Wallen-racist slur episode. Two weekends ago, TMZ got their hands on Morgan and his (white) friends, being drunk and loud outside of Wallen’s home. At one point, Wallen loudly calls out to a friend and he used the n-word. It was gross and it drunkenly rolled off his tongue way too easily. What was surprising about it was the complete condemnation from the professional class in Nashville. Country music stations suspended playing his super-successful album. His recording label suspended him and high-profile people in the country music industry called him out. I expected the reaction (from the music professionals) to be more of “well, he said he was sorry, so all’s forgiven, he’s a good ol’ boy” kind of thing, which is… how the fans reacted. Wallen’s fans have been blanketing social media to scream at anyone and everyone critical of their racist sh-thead icon. Well, here’s something else surprising: Morgan Wallen has released an apology video, and he specifically asks his fans to stop “defending” him.

Morgan Wallen is taking ownership of his actions after he was captured on video using the N-word. On Wednesday, the country music star, 27, released a five-minute Instagram video addressing his use of the racial slur, urging fans not to defend him as he wants to “take ownership” for the offense.

“I’m long overdue to make a statement regarding my last incident. I wanted to collect my thoughts, seek some real guidance and come to you with a complete thought before I did,” he began. According to Wallen, the video that surfaced was taken during “a bender,” which he said was “not something I’m proud of either.”

“I let so many people down. I let my parents down and they’re the furthest thing from … the person in that video. I let my son down, and I’m not okay with that…So this week, I’ve been waiting to say anything further until I got the chance to apologize to those closest to me that I knew I personally hurt.”

The “Whiskey Glasses” singer — whom the NAACP recently offered to meet with to educate him on why the N-word is hurtful — went on to say that he’s “accepted some invitations from some amazing Black organizations, some executives and leaders to engage in some very real and honest conversations.”

“I’ll admit to you I was pretty nervous to accept those invitations,” he said. “They had every right to step on my neck while I was down, to not show me any grace. But they did the exact opposite — they offered me grace, and they also paired that with an offer to learn and to grow.”

For Wallen, their “kindness really inspired me to dig deeper on how to do something about this. And one thing I’ve learned already [and] is specifically sorry for is that it matters my words matter. A word can truly hurt a person and in my core, it’s not what I’m okay with.” Since the video, Wallen said he’s heard “firsthand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me. I know what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to some of the trials I heard about from them. I came away from those discussions with a deep appreciation for them and a clear understanding of the weight of my words. I wish the circumstances were different for me to learn these things, but I’m also glad it started the process for me to do so.”

“I’ve got many more things to learn, but I already know that I don’t want to add to any division,” Wallen said. “Our words matter and I just want to encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistake. There’s no reason to downplay what I did, it matters.”

Wallen, who’s “been sober for nine days” since the video surfaced, added that fans should not defend his actions. “I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me. But for today, please don’t. I was wrong. I fully accept any penalties I’m facing. This entire situation is ugly right now, but I’ll keep searching for ways to become the example instead of being made one.”

[From People]

I hate that I’m actually kind of impressed by how thorough this apology was and how he hit several of the right notes. I’m not saying all is forgiven or forgotten, but I actually think Wallen might use this as a genuine opportunity to perhaps become a better person? Or at least understand how thoroughly he f–ked up. Is that naive? Perhaps. Imagine being the NAACP or Black Lives Matter activist tasked with educating him though. Whew. And again, I do appreciate the fact that he told his fans to stop defending him. That’s a big deal, because he had a little redneck fan-army out there, harassing anyone speaking out about racism in the country music industry.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid.

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21 Responses to “Morgan Wallen made a video statement, apologized for saying the n-word”

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  1. Millennial says:

    What’s unfortunate is that it took someone doing something “outwardly” racist for condemnation to happen. That whole industry is steeped in systemic racism (not only that, but provides a definition of “white identity” that a lot of racist white folks cling to) but there is way too much white fragility to ever face any of that.

    • Chica1971 says:

      There was a Karen from some mortgage company defending him on TikTok saying BIPOC should get over it. She got fired but left a lot of questions about how company handles black loans. I think many think his behavior is overt but it’s the undercover systemic stuff that’s insidious.

  2. Joy says:

    I’m always skeptical BUT this apology is way better than the usual I’m sorry you’re offended .

    • Chanteloup says:

      Yeah, your apology is only as good as your future actions, guy! So time will tell –
      But at least it’s a start. I mean compare this to the blatant and absolute doubling down non-apology we’ve gotten for the last 4 years from the white house, Republicans in congress [still!] and the police murdering people. Like no one’s even been trying to do better.
      I don’t know this dude, but I hope he will.

  3. Lauren says:

    Good for him, but the fact the people have to be told, instructed and taught why they should not use racist and derogatory terms jikes.

  4. Chelsea says:

    As a black person I’m not at the place where im ready to fully accept his apology because he’s done this before and should be old enough to know better but the fact that he asked his fans to stop defending him is a really huge step. I honestly can’t ever remember a celeb screwing up and then asking their fans to not defend them for it; most enjoy the ego trip. And in his case the white grievance behind a lot of the defense around him, which ended up boosting his sales, could have maybe given his career a second wind to be saved a few months from now when country radio might’ve returned course. So i do think that shows actual remorse and that he finally gets the gravity of the situation and doesn’t want to be the person that makes things worse at a time when our country is so divided. So in that way he unfortunately has more integrity than pretty much every Republican member of Congress. The bar’s in hell y’all

    • Carol says:

      @Chelsea – totally agree with you. What I am more inspired by is how certain black leaders are using this as a “teachable” moment. Reaching out to him and letting him know why he is being condemned for using that ugly slur and why its considered racist. Yes, it’s sad that we are still needing to do this but I think this is necessary to educate people. Condemning them is not enough. And racism has nothing to do with maturity. You don’t “grow” out of it. You learn why what you say or believe is wrong – especially if you are open to learning. I think this dude was/is.

  5. GrnieWnie says:

    I watched this whole video (I didn’t even know who this was but I have a thing for apology videos because I think they’re revealing). I was surprised, too, at the quality of the apology. Have we gotten better as a society at apologizing? I thought this was a really good one. You heard empathy. You heard acknowledgement of undeserved kindness. You heard him deter his fans from defending his indefensible behaviour. Time will tell regarding his commitment.

    I’m interested in this culture of public shaming. It’s very strong in East Asia. You see celebrities having to apologize to their fans, publicly, for cheating on their spouses. These are personal mishaps but because they occur in the public eye, the celebrity has to perform mea culpa. I’m actually a big fan of public shaming as a tool for delimiting the boundaries of what society will tolerate — it’s instructional, at the very least. If some moronic white person in nowhere, USA thought using the n-word publicly was okay, they’ve just been reminded that no, it absolutely is not. Of course, one would think this was established in the 1960s but here we are.

    ETA: on a side note, I did think the wording of “every right to step on my neck” was a little awkward. Some PR person should’ve maybe gotten on that.

    • Chanteloup says:

      Grnie Wnie, I always find public apologies interesting too, and I just saw Justin T’s insta post – And yeah, he did not write that!

  6. Tiffany says:

    Keep. It.

  7. grabbyhands says:

    I mean, great that he is telling his fans to shut it and quit defending him and that he at least gives the impression of being legitimately contrite, but jaysus – I’ll say it again, at the age of 27 you should not still be “learning” that racist language is wrong.

    He may well be sincere, but that really rubs me the wrong way. You would have to be from another dimension to NOT know that language is unacceptable on any front. It’s such a lazy excuse and I am sick of hearing it.

    • Chanteloup says:

      I’m willing to bet he knew it was wrong. I don’t know this guy at all, but he probably wasn’t walking around saying shit like this in view of the general public on a daily basis. He just convinced himself it didn’t matter because his privileged friends didn’t mind him calling them that, ha ha ha. I think what he’s learning – hopefully – is that hateful garbage in, hateful garbage out.

      The answer to the question where someone hits your arm when you’re holding a cup of coffee and spill it: Why did you spill coffee?? If you answer, someone made me, you’re looking outside yourself for an excuse. If you answer, because I had coffee in the cup – then you’re looking inside yourself. [It's not really a good analogy because you don't need to apologize for spilling coffee! but bear with me, lol]. Whatever you put in, in moments of stress, that’s what’s going to come out.

      Yes – sobering up sounds like a great decision on his part, because he’s realized most of the things he’s done he’s not proud of happened when he was drinking. But drinking’s no excuse. I could drink for a week, and words like that would not come out of my mouth.
      If he stops acting like a privileged racist around his friends, even in private and when sober, and acts in a way he can be proud of, that kind of hate isn’t going to come leaping out of him.

      Good luck to him, and all of us, in his journey to sobriety and being better. I hope he means it.

    • clomo says:

      I know! I’ve known since I can remember, a very young child, thanks to relatively good parenting but even if my parenting had been crap I’d have that word on my no-no list by middle school. I was blessed with empathy fortunately something some people unfortunately have to be taught, it seems so strange adults are still this ignorant/careless and hateful. Dumb dumbs, it must be just sheer stupidity with many.

  8. Chickadee says:

    I noticed how easily that word slid out. Being drunk is not an excuse. I teach in a rural east Texas school district that’s about 75% white, and some of my students are those rabid fans. (I’ve had to have the conversation on why that hateful word isn’t acceptable. Yes, in 2021.) Hopefully, his young fans will read his apology and engage in some self-reflection, but I fear I’m being overly optimistic.

  9. BusyLizzy says:

    There is no excuse to use the “n” word. I am French, the “n” word doesn’t have the same cultural / historical weight as in the US for us but I cringe every time I hear someone use it in a song or in a movie. I would never use it – not even super drunk.

  10. lucy2 says:

    A good first step I suppose, not really my place to say if it’s acceptable or not, but future actions will prove more than words.
    Considering he also blew up his first SNL chance due to partying and COVID stupidity, trying to stay sober might be a good idea.

  11. Lady Keller says:

    To the poster a few weeks ago who called him the love child of Shia Leboeuf and Jeremy Renner, thanks. Thank a lot. I cannot unseen it. I cannot stop seeing it. I cannot even look at a picture of this man I am so disturbed by it.

  12. Marigold says:

    I think that to get better we have to let people BECOME better. I think he is trying. If you aren’t from the Deep South, you many not realize how insular it is. My family came from Mississippi and I’m sure that I have racist great , great, greats. But my family has always been different. My daughter asked me what made our family different? How did we separate from all that vileness. I asked my mom and she said the best she could tell was that it was education. And that my greats wanted us to be better than our roots. But growing up in small white towns can make you blind. There is no excuse. None. But when someone truly wants to better, I’m there for it.

  13. Amy Too says:

    He used the word in a way that was meant to be threatening and demeaning to the person whom he said it to because they were black and he knew that word would make them upset and likely afraid. It carries the weight of hundreds of years worth of racist violence because when said by white people, it is nearly always accompanied by violence, or the threat of violence, and racist contempt. It is meant to assert white superiority.

    It’s not like he tried to do a “what’s up my N-word?” to a black friend or colleague that he respected and he just had NO IDEA that it was inappropriate for white people to say it because he didn’t know the word had a historically racist context and was meant to show hate.

    So I don’t get what he’s going to go learn from the NAACP and such. He wasn’t being ignorant and using a racist word out of context, he was using it purposefully, in the historically violent context that he knows it has been used in. It’s like calling a gay person a f*g when you’re trying to intimidate them and make them feel different and less-than. But even worse. He knew what he was doing. He was being hateful on purpose in order to intimidate and get his way.

    And when he says that he read the stories of black people who have had the N-word used against him and some of those stories really blew his mind with how hurtful they were? What he did could have been one of those stories. Again, he used the word in the same context as the people in the stories he was reading about. To intimidate, to demean, to frighten, to express hate and white superiority, and as a threat.

  14. Amando says:

    It is a better than the usual celeb go-to apology, but actions speak louder than words. I’m all for giving someone the opportunity to learn and grow. “Cancel” culture doesn’t work anyway.