Morgan Wallen is speaking out for the first time since a controversial video hit the Internet that showed him using a racial slur after a night out with friends. On February 2, TMZ posted a short clip of the singer arriving home with a group of friends after a night out. In the clip, Wallen uses a slew of profanity, including the N-word.
Within hours of the video being released, fans and the country music industry began to respond with outrage. Wallen initially shared an apology with 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.”
As the Internet raged on between whether or not the response to Wallen’s words was warranted or not, the singer remained silent… until tonight (2/10). After days of reflection, the singer gathered his thoughts and posted a more than five minute long video to talk about what happened. In the clip, he acknowledges that he used the word and knew the video was coming out, but didn’t have time to process what was happening until it had hit the Internet.
“The video you saw was me on hour 72 of 72 of a bender, and that’s not something I’m proud of either,” Wallen explained.
He went on to acknowledge that he wanted to wait to respond until after apologizing to those he let down, like his parents and his infant son. He also went on to explain that he accepted several invitations from Black organizations to talk to them about the importance of his words.
“I’ve also accepted some invitations from some amazing Black organizations, executives and leaders to have some very real and honest conversations,” he shared. “I’ll admit to you, I was pretty nervous to accept those invitations. The very people I hurt, they had every right to step on my neck when I was down, to not show me any grace, but they did the exact opposite. They offered me grace and also they paired that with an offer to learn and to grow. I’ll be honest, that kindness really inspired me to dig deeper on how to do something about this. And one thing I’ve learned already is, that I’m specifically sorry for is that it matters, my words matter. A word can truly hurt a person and at my core, that’s not what I’m okay with. This week, I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people that shook me and I know that what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to the trials that I heard about from them. I came away from those discussions with a deeper appreciation for them and a clearer understanding of weight of my words.”
In the video, Wallen also admits that he’s been sober for the last nine days since the original video was recorded.
“It’s not that long of a time, but I know enough to know that the man in that video is not the man that I’m trying to be,” he shared.
He closes the video by sharing that he plans on going off the grid for awhile and focusing on making good choices. He also acknowledged that while he appreciate the support of his fans, that for the time being, they should not support his actions.
“I have one favor to ask. I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me. But for today, please don’t. I was wrong. It’s on me to take ownership for this and I fully accept any penalties I face. The time of my return is solely upon me and the work I put in.”
See Wallen’s full apology in the video above.