More than a week after video surfaced of Morgan Wallen using a racial slur, the troubled singer is speaking out. In a video, shared on social media and posted on YouTube, Wallen gave a lengthy apology for his actions.
“I’m long overdue to make a statement regarding my last incident. I wanted to collect my thoughts, seek some real guidance and come to you with a complete thought before I did,” Wallen began. “I was made aware of the video being posted to TMZ with hardly any time to think before it was released to the public. I was asked if I wanted to apologize, and of course I did. I wrote many detailed thoughts and only a portion of those got used, which painted me in an even more careless light. I’m here to hopefully show you that’s not the truth.
“The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a 72-hour bender,” he continued. “That’s not something I’m proud of either. Obviously the natural thing to do is to apologize further and just continue to apologize, because you got caught. And that’s not what I wanted to do. I let so many people down, who mean a lot to me, and who have given so much to me. It’s just not fair. I let my parents down and they’re the furthest thing from the person in that video. I let my son down, and I’m not okay with that.”
Wallen explained that he waited to issue a public apology until he could personally apologize to those closest to him, who have been hurt by his actions. The Tennessee native also shared that, while he was away from the public, he accepted some invitations to meet with people from some “amazing Black organizations,” who had reached out to him with the offer of an honest dialogue about why his words and actions were so hurtful.
“I’ll admit to you I was pretty nervous to accept those invitations,” Wallen acknowledged. “The very people I hurt, and they had every right to step on my neck while I was down, to not show me any grace. But they did the exact opposite — they offered me grace, and they also paired that with an offer to learn and to grow.”
Wallen’s conversations with Black leaders is what he credits to inspiring him to make some real changes in his own life.
“That kindness really inspired me to dig deeper on how to do something about this,” Wallen said. “And one thing I’ve learned already [and] I’m specifically sorry for is that it matters. My words matter. A word can truly hurt a person and at my core, it’s not what I’m okay with. This week I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people, that honestly shook me. I know what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to some of the trials I heard about from them.
“I came away from those discussions with a deep appreciation for them, and a clearer understanding of the weight of my words,” he added. “I wish the circumstances were different for me to learn these things, but I’m also glad it started the process for me to do so.”
Wallen has, rightfully, faced plenty of career repercussions for his actions, including losing ACM Awards eligibility, loss of radio play on Cumulus and iHeartRadio stations, and an indefinite suspension of his recording contract. The 27-year-old hopes that others learn from his mistake, adding that the actions against him were all justified.
“I’ve got many more things to learn, but I already know that I don’t want to add to any division,” Wallen said. “This week was a big lesson that sometimes we can do just that, without even knowing. Our actions matter. Our words matter and I just want to encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistake. There’s no reason to downplay what I did, it matters, and please know how carefully I’m choosing my next steps.”
Wallen was previously disinvited from his Saturday Night Live debut, after video appeared of him drinking at a party without social-distancing, but he now says his days of drinking are over.
“Since that video was taken, I’ve been sober for nine days,” Wallen revealed. “It’s not all that long of a time, but it’s enough to know that man in that video is not the man that I’m trying to be. I’ve had this week to think about times that I’m sober. I’m really proud of who I am and my actions, for the most part, in those moments. When I look on the times that I’m not, it seems to be where the majority of my mistakes are made.”
Wallen closed his lengthy video by asking his fans to not defend his words or actions.
“I have one favor to ask. I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me. But for today, please don’t,” urged the singer. “I was wrong. It’s on me. I take ownership of this. I fully accept any penalties I’m facing. The time of my return is solely on me, and the work I put in. I still have a lot of really good people in my corner, trying to help me, and I appreciate them more than you know … This entire situation is ugly right now, but I’ll keep searching for ways to become the example instead of being made one.”