NBC's chairman of entertainment and “30 Rock” creator Tina Fey lament Tracy Morgan's homophobic remarks
NBC Chairman of Entertainment Robert Greenblatt and "30 Rock" executive producer Tina Fey issued statements lamenting series star Tracy Morgan's anti-gay remarks at a recent stand-up performance, which went viral after an attendee posted them on Facebook.
But they didn't boot him off the show — yet.
Noting that Morgan's remarks reflect negatively on NBC and "30 Rock," Greenblatt stressed that "we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior won't be tolerated."
Fey called the remarks "disturbing at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community." She added that they don'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."
She, like Greenblatt, called "30 Rock" a diverse workplace.
Read the Full Statements: NBC to Tracy Morgan: 'This Behavior Won't Be Tolerated'
The comments followed a day of controversy once the remarks hit the news. Last Saturday, Morgan joked onstage about stabbing his son to death if he were gay and talked to him effeminately.
He apologized, but gay and lesbian advocacy groups say the apology isn't enough.
Openly gay actor George Takei, meanwhile, called Morgan a "a sad, strange man." Takei also asked how an African-American who may have suffered bigotry could perpetuate it himself.
"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," Morgan said in a statement to the Huffington Post.
"I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others," he added. "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."
A gay man who attended Morgan's performance in Nashville Saturday recounted Morgan's remarks on Facebook. They appear to be far more extreme than the remark that got Isaiah Washington, the last primetime star accused of such homophobic comments, fired from "Grey's Anatomy." (Co-star T.R. Knight said Washington used an anti-gay slur against him; Washington denied it, and said he used it during a disagreement with Patrick Dempsey. He also went to rehab and spoke out against hate speech.)
Morgan, who is known for outlandish behavior and sometimes tasteless comments, has one advantage that could help him ride out the coming barrage of criticism: "30 Rock" doesn't return to NBC until midseason.
Morgan's "30 Rock" co-star Alec Baldwin tweeted only: "Oh that Tracy."
Advocacy groups weren't so taciturn."At a time when bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth is at an all-time high – when kids are being assaulted, are dying – to joke about committing violence against a child is outrageous and reprehensible," Jody Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said in a statement Friday.
"As a celebrity, Mr. Morgan needs to understand that his words have power; inciting violence against gay and lesbian kids in the name of comedy – stating that he would stab his own son to death if he was gay – is absolutely unconscionable. A simple apology is not enough – Mr. Morgan must take meaningful action to prove the sincerity of that apology."
The Human Rights Campaign also said Morgan has to do more.
"Tracy Morgan exercised extremely poor judgment and he did the right thing by apologizing. But that's just not enough," Fred Sainz, the vice president of communications for the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization wrote.
"Morgan now has a responsibility to make amends for his horribly hurtful and dangerous 'comedy' routine … Words have consequences and Morgan should be held to a higher standard. Until he does something meaningful, his brand will remain tarnished."
Morgan has expressed anti-gay views in the past. In 2009, a stream of people walked out of Morgan's performance at Carnegie Hall. One audience member told the New York Daily News that Morgan "talked trash about homosexuality" and called it a choice.
The man who attended Saturday's show in Nashville, Kevin Rogers, described it in a Facebook post entitled, "Why I No Longer 'Like' Tracy Jordan — A Must-Read."
"I have very thick skin when it comes to humor; I can dish and I can take," he wrote. "What I can't take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay s— was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that 'Born this Way' is bulls—, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because 'God don't make no mistakes' (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake)."
Rogers added: "He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little f—ers that bully them, not whine about it. He said 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."
Rogers' closer: "Tracy then said he didn't fucking care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a f—ing dick up their ass… they can take a f—ing joke."