Tracy Morgan apologizes for anti-gay jokes

Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:55pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian and "30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan on Friday apologized for making a series of anti-gay remarks, including a reported joke that he would stab his own son to death if he spoke in a "gay voice".

Morgan's apology followed criticism of his stand-up act in Nashville last week, in which he was also quoted as having taken gays to task for "whining about something as insignificant as bullying."

"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.

"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," he added.

Morgan's remarks at the June 3 Nashville performance were reported by the gay campaign group Truth Wins Out, and other members of the audience.

Morgan, 42, who has three children, also claimed that being gay is a choice and something that kids learn from the media, according to the reports.

"Jokes that make light of violence directed at gay and lesbian youth aren't only offensive, they put our kids in harm's way," said Jarrett Barrios, president of the gay and lesbian campaign group GLAAD.

"Tracy Morgan must not only apologize, but assure us that this won't happen again and send a clear message to Americans that anti-gay violence is no joke," Barrios said on Friday.

Nashville's Ryman Auditorium issued a statement on Thursday saying that it "regrets that people were offended by statements made by Tracy Morgan during his June 3 appearance."

"The Ryman does not control the content presented by people appearing on its stage, nor does it endorse any of the views of, or statements made by, such persons," the statement added.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Christine Kearney)