As word leaked out about Tracy Morgan's violently homophobic on-stage rant at a standup show on June 3rd in Nashville, his representatives worked quickly to release to the press an apology from the eccentric comedian.
Hours later, his boss made clear that those words of regret, not hatred, best be honest.
In a statement released to the press, "30 Rock" executive producer and star Tina Fey -- a longtime gay rights advocate -- had a harsh message for her co-star (via Deadline):
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.
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.
I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at "30 Rock," without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket.
The other producers and I pride ourselves on 30 Rock being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace.
Fey, named one of gay newspaper The Advocate's People of the Year for 2008, emphasized her close friendship with the gay community in her recent memoir, "Bossypants."
Morgan has showed his appreciation for Fey's help in the past; his former "Saturday Night Live" cast mate and head writer has given him chances no one else would, he told Oprah Winfrey in 2010.
“She’s my friend. I love her," he said. "She understood that I knew who I was. Where everybody else [said]: ‘Oh, he don’t know. His whole career is chance.’ And she understood that I was making choices. I was making choices on TV. And she not only would write things, she would just encourage me.”
NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt also released a statement condemning Morgan's remarks:
I speak for NBC and myself personally when I say we do not condone hate or violence of any kind and I am pleased to see Tracy Morgan apologizing for recent homophobic remarks in his standup appearance. We will always recognize an artist's freedom to express him or herself, but not when reckless things are said no matter what the context. Unfortunately, Tracy's comments reflect negatively on both 30 Rock and NBC -- two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations -- and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.