Morgan Wallen has addressed his use of a racial slur via an interview with Good Morning America. The country music artist sat down with GMA’s Michael Strahan to discuss the video that surfaced showcasing Wallen using a racial slur and the controversy that followed.
In the tell-all interview Wallen discussed what provoked him to use such language, how he reacted to learning of the video’s presence and what he plans to do moving forward.
When describing the night the video was taken, Wallen shared in the interview that he was out with longtime friends partying.
“I was around some of my friends, and we just, we say dumb stuff together,” said Wallen. “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.”
Wallen further claimed that he did not mean the term in a “derogatory manner” when used to refer to one of his friends.The artist admitted that although he did not use the word frequently, it was one he has used with this specific friend group before.
“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,” said Wallen.”I think I was just ignorant about it. I don’t think I sat down and was, like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?'”
The video, taken by neighbors outside Wallen’s Nashville home, led to repercussions such as suspension from his recording contract, disqualification from some music awards shows and various radio stations pulling his music.
Wallen shared that he had learned of the video’s impending presence online via a call from his manager.
“My manager called me probably two hours before the video came out,” said Wallen. “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 explained, where he was “just sittin’ in that house, tryin’ to figure out what it is I’m supposed to do.”
Following the video’s release Wallen issued an apology video.
But where does Wallen stand now with his actions and what steps has he taken since?
Reflecting back on that night, Wallen shared that he at the time was on “hour 72 of a 72-bender” and checked himself into a rehab facility post scandal to work towards sobriety.
Wallen stated that he engaged in various conversations with record executive Kevin Liles, Eric Hutcherson, executive vice president and chief people and inclusion officer at Universal Music Group, gospel artist BeBe Winans and the Black Music Action Coalition.
While Wallen has now returned to Big Loud Records, he has addressed that all profits made post the video’s release have been donated to various organizations such as BMAC
When asked by Strahan whether he was aware of viewer’s skepticism towards his motivation to speak out now, Wallen admittedly acknowledged such concerns.
“I’m not ever gonna make, you know, everyone happy,” said Wallen. “I can only come tell my truth, and.. and that’s all I know to do.”