Morgan Wallen is addressing when he used a racial slur in a clip that was leaked earlier this year.
“Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan sat down with the country singer, 28, this past week to discuss the hateful language in the footage released by TMZ on Feb. 2.
He also opened up about what he says his understanding of the word was at the time the video was taken, what he has done since the footage was released and what he is planning to do in the future after the scandal.
When Strahan asked Wallen to take him back to the night the footage was captured, Wallen recounted he was partying with some of his friends the weekend the footage was captured and “it just happened.”
“I was around some of my friends, and we just … we say dumb stuff together,” Wallen said on “GMA.” “And it was — in our minds, it’s playful … that sounds ignorant, but it — that’s really where it came from … and it’s wrong.”
In the clip, which was taken in January, Wallen said he “didn’t mean it any, in any derogatory manner at all…it’s one of my best friends — he was, we were all clearly drunk — I was askin’ his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and he was leavin,'” Wallen recalled.
He admitted he was “not sure” what made him feel empowered to use the racial slur. “I think I was just ignorant about it,” he said. “I don’t think I sat down and was, like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?'”
After the video’s release, Wallen was dropped by his record label and talent agency, disqualified from eligibility at multiple country music award shows and his music was removed from multiple radio companies’ stations.
“My manager called me probably two hours before the video came out,” Wallen recalled. “He was, like, ‘Are you sittin’ down?’ And no one’s ever called me and said that before.”
“I went to one of my friends [who] has a house out in the middle of nowhere,” he continued, adding that he was “just sittin’ in that house, tryin’ to figure out what it is I’m supposed to do.”
Wallen issued his first apology shortly after the video was released. “I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back,” he said in a statement obtained by “GMA” at the time.
“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.”
He then shared a five-minute video where he urged his fan base to stop defending him, admitting that he “let so many people down” and spoke about the changes he planned to implement in his life.
“My words matter. A word can truly hurt a person and at my core, it’s not what I’m OK with,” he said in the video. “This week I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me. And I know what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to some of the trials I heard about from them.”
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