Reactions to the Tracy Morgan rant about homosexuality at a Tennessee venue are stirring up Hollywood.
On Saturday, Roland Martin of CNN came to Morgan’s defense, claiming the rant was just part of the show.
“Say I’m wrong. Fine. Say I’m insensitive to gays and lesbians. Fine. I’ll wait for the usual bigots to say that I’m defending Tracy Morgan because he’s black. Fine.” Martin goes on to say, “I just believe that many of you would be shocked and amazed that you laughed hysterically at some of the most sexist, homophobic, racist stuff imaginable by comedians of all shapes, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations.”
To which comedienne Wanda Sykes, who has been outspoken on the issue, replied, “Ro, I love and respect you, so I feel that I can tell you that your column is some bullshit. We can do better. Tracy has the right to say whatever he wants to say, just like we have the right to say, not acceptable. and WE as a country. We used to picnic to watch public hangings, but WE figured out, that was some sick shit.”
Fellow comic Chris Rock stood by Morgan’s side and tweeted his support. He said, “I dont know about you, but I dont want to live in world where Tracy Morgan cant say foul inappropriate shit.” But after being ridiculed for his stance abruptly changed his mind, “wow i get it that s**t wasn’t called for and i don’t support it at all. now can i please go to the tony awards without getting my ass kicked.”
Co-star Tina Fey of 30 Rock also issued a statement both condemning Morgan’s rant, but supporting the actor himself. “I’m glad to hear that Tracy apologized for his comments. Stand-up comics may have the right to ‘work out’ their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience, but the violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community.”
She said of Morgan, “It also doesn’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.”
For those who haven’t heard the rant, “The gays needed to quit being p—ies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying,” and if his son said he was gay “he better come home and talk to him like a man…or he would pull out a knife and stab that little [n—–] to death.”
Of course Morgan himself apologized almost immediately. He said, “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.”