NEW YORK – Actor/comedian Tracy Morgan began his quest to repair his public image on Friday after a homophobic rant during a June 3 comedy show in Nashville, Tenn., brought nearly universal condemnation.
Morgan met with LGBT youths from the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization serving homeless LGBT youth. He also met with Elke Kennedy, whose 20-year-old son, Sean, was killed in an anti-gay hate crime.
The meetings were arranged by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization.
Last week, GLAAD, HRC, Truth Wins Out and bloggers called on Morgan to apologize and speak out against anti-LGBT violence after the anti-gay rant during which he joked that he would stabbed his son if he came home and told him he was gay.
GLAAD also called on Morgan to meet with LGBT youth shunned by their families, as well as families who have lost loved ones to anti-LGBT hate violence.
“Tracy saw firsthand the toll that homophobia and anti-gay violence can take on a person’s life,” said Jarrett Barrios, GLAAD president. “By meeting with LGBT teens left homeless because of who they are, we hope that Tracy has come to understand that so-called ‘jokes’ about gay youth are not just irresponsible, they are damaging.”
Jayden Love and Raciel Castillo issued the following statement after meeting with Morgan:
Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of the Ali Forney Center, issued the following statement:
Morgan also announced that he will return to Tennessee on Tuesday, June 21, to apologize to those people he offended during his act. While in Nashville, Morgan will also meet with the Tennessee Equality Project and local advocates.
“Returning to Tennessee and apologizing to those he offended is an important step in showing that Tracy truly understands the weight of his words,” Barrios said. “In a state that continues to put anti-gay laws on the books, it’s now more important than ever that we let Tennesseans know that homophobia has no place on or off the stage.”
Morgan will also participate in GLAAD’s upcoming “Amplify Your Voice” public service announcement (PSA) campaign. Other participants include Russell Simmons, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Kristin Chenoweth, Chaz Bono, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Vinny Guadagnino and Tori Spelling, among others. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has partnered with GLAAD to produce the campaign, and NBC Universal has pledged national airtime.
To read the GLAAD blog, click HERE.