Should comedians be given a pass when it comes to hatred and bigotry? Historically, comedians have used the “but it’s just a joke” defense of their ignorant comments since before Al Jolson’s black face. But in this day and age, are we to excuse blatant homophobia coming from the mouths of comedians just because they are trying to be funny?
In the case of Tracy Morgan, of SNL and 30 Rock fame – to one audience member, it’s crossed a line. Kevin Rogers saw Morgan’s show in Nashville this past weekend and was expecting some straight-on-gay humor as is standard with a lot of comics. But what Kevin heard was instead a bigoted and homophobic anti-gay tirade at Morgan’s show.
According to a note Kevin posted on Facebook, Morgan’s entire demeanor changed for this portion of the program and after referring to gay people as God’s mistakes, advocated for anti-gay violence against his own family member, (quoting Kevin’s Facebook post): “He said if his son was gay, he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high-pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N—– to death”
Truth Wins Out has called on Morgan to comment on his anti-gay tirade as well as a request for comment on these allegations from equality advocate Tina Fey (whom Morgan has worked with for several years on 30 Rock).
“LGBT people are still fighting for equality all across America, and many of our teens are still very much at risk. Sadly, reports of gay youth taking their own lives due to anti-gay bullying have become all too common. Tennessee’s gay teens are in particular danger as the state legislature has endeavored over the past year to make life as difficult as possible for them, going as far as to move a bill prohibiting teachers from even acknowledging their existence in schools. Tracy Morgan is a role model to many young people, including gay kids. If these reports are true, Mr. Morgan owes them, and us all, a full apology.”