Morgan Wallen sat down with Michael Strahan on Friday’s “Good Morning America” for an interview about his use of the N-word in a video that leaked in February and caused both considerable backlash and a spike in his record sales.
When asked why he felt it was OK to use the slur in the first place, the country music singer cited ignorance.
“I’m not sure. I think I was just ignorant about it,” Wallen told “GMA” co-host Strahan. “I don’t think I ever sat down and was like, hey, is this right or is this wrong?”
Wallen told Strahan he hadn’t used the N-word “frequently” in the past, saying he specifically used it around the “certain group of friends” he is seen with in the February video.
“I was around some of my friends, and we just … we say dumb stuff together,” Wallen said. “And it was — in our minds, it’s playful … that sounds ignorant, but it — that’s really where it came from … and it’s wrong.”
Wallen told Strahan he donated $500,000 of the surge in sales he saw following the video’s leak to the Black Music Action Coalition and other advocacy groups.
This “GMA” interview comes months after the country music star was recorded using a racial slur. After Wallen and his friends returned home from a night out in Nashville, Wallen’s neighbor was alerted by the noise and began recording, eventually capturing a video of the event.
Following the video’s release, Wallen apologized in a statement provided to TMZ, saying, “I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”
Big Loud Records also suspended Wallen’s recording contract “indefinitely” for his actions. “In the wake of recent events, Big Loud Records has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen’s contract indefinitely,” the company said. “Republic Records fully supports Big Loud’s decision and agrees such behavior will not be tolerated.”
Wallen was set to be the musical guest last year on an episode of “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Bill Burr. He was uninvited from the show after he was seen in social media videos partying in Alabama without a mask on — in violation of the pandemic protocols expected of “SNL” performers.
Watch the full interview via the video above.