Morgan Wallen has broken his silence, eight days after a video surfaced that shows him using the N-word. He says that moment came at the end of a 72-hour bender, and in a video message to fans posted on Wednesday night (Feb. 10), Wallen apologizes and gives an update what he’s been doing to change. He also asks those who’ve been defending him to quit doing so.
The emotional plea on social media reveals that Wallen has been sober for nine days and sees his relationship with alcohol as toxic to the man he’s trying to be. Conversely, he’s proud of who he is when he’s sober, but recognizes that he let down his family, friends and professional team — as well as his fans — on the night that video was taken. He specifically calls out his parents and infant son, Indie, as people he has disappointed.
“I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me,” Wallen says near the end of the five-minute video, “But for today, please don’t. I was wrong. It’s on me to take ownership of this, and I fully accept any penalties I’ll face.”
Wallen, wearing a brown vest over a long-sleeve gray T-shirt, seems to be reading from prepared notes in this video, as he did in apologizing to fans after being forced off Saturday Night Live in October following a weekend of maskless partying during the COVID-19 pandemic. He opens by explaining that his apology to TMZ — who publicized the video of him using the racist slur on Feb. 2 — was inadequate, in part because he had little time after being made aware of it, and in part because only a portion of his apology was published.
Words matter, Wallen says. Later, he repeats that he takes full responsibility for his actions and will accept the consequences.
“There’s no reason to downplay what I did,” Wallen reflects. “It matters, even though I’m carefully choosing my next steps.”
Wallen’s statement doesn’t include any specific ways he plans to make changes, or how he’ll spend his next few weeks. He indicates that he’ll be taking time away from the spotlight once again and will decide when it’s the right time to return.
“I want my family, my team, my friends and even strangers to trust me,” the 27-year-old says.
Several Black executives and leaders have offered to talk to Wallen, and perhaps even offer guidance — invitations Wallen says he “was very nervous to accept.”
“The very people I hurt, 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.”
The video of Wallen using the N-word was filmed by one of Wallen’s neighbors on the night of Jan. 31. In sharing that the video was taken “on hour 72 of 72 of a bender,” Wallen hints at something akin to a drinking problem for the first time.
Within 24 hours of TMZ’s story, Wallen had lost his booking agent and been pulled from country radio, as well as inclusion on digital streaming playlists. The outcry from country fans was immediate, but divided, with some saying the consequences were more severe than his actions, calling it another example of cancel culture.
Big Loud Records suspended Wallen’s recording contract, too, but his music is still available in the same places it was previously. His new album spent a fourth straight week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last week — an indication that fans were not united in anger and disgust.
Wallen’s next professional commitment is on June 3, at the Tailgate N’ Tallboys Festival in Illinois. He was previously attached to Luke Bryan’s summer tour, but it’s not clear if those dates will go on as planned.
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