UPDATED 2/4, 9:20 a.m. ET: After Morgan Wallen was seen saying the N-word on camera, NAACP Nashville president Sheryl Guinn has offered to educate him on the word. WSMV reports that Guinn says Wallen apologizing for his actions is a start, but there's a big issue if he's comfortable dropping the word so casually.
"Even when you look at the other words that were spoken, that one has a certain venom to it that the words just don’t have," said Guinn. "Because he was such a prominent celebrity and an artist here in Nashville—I mean, he’s living here—we would love for him to have that conversation with us. I mean, we invite him to come and have that conversation with us, the NAACP, as to why that word is so hurtful."
Following the video making its way online, Wallen's label Big Loud suspended his recording contract indefinitely. Hundreds of radio stations have also removed his music, as have major playlists on streaming services, while the Academy of Country Music has made him ineligible for the awards.
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Country star Morgan Wallen has apologized after a video taken by one of his neighbors shows him saying the N-word as he came home from a night out.
TMZ reports the video was taken around midnight on Sunday just outside the 27-year-old's home in Nashville. As he and his friends arrived, they were loud enough for the neighbors to take notice. At one point in the clip, Wallen appears to be berating one of his friends. "Take care of this pussy-ass motherfucker," he can be heard saying before using the N-word. "Take care of this pussy-ass n***a."
In a statement provided to TMZ, Wallen apologized.
"I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever," the recent SNL performer said. "I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better."
Variety reports that in response to the video, country radio stations have begun removing Wallen from playlists. Cumulus Media, the second biggest radio chain in the country, sent a mandate to program directors at over 400 stations informing the teams to remove his music. "Team, unfortunately country music star Morgan Wallen was captured on video Sunday evening using a racial slur. Effective immediately we request that all of Morgan Wallen’s music be removed from our playlists without exception," reads the directive.
Wallen’s label Big Loud Records, under the Republic umbrella, announced it “has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen’s contract indefinitely.” The statement adds: “Republic Records fully supports Big Loud’s decision and agrees such behavior will not be tolerated.”
Astutely noted by Variety is the fact that “[w]hat exactly that will mean is not entirely clear, as ‘suspended’ contracts are not common in the music industry.”
Fellow Nashville artists Maren Morris and Mickey Guyton were quick to criticize Wallen on social media. "This is not his first time using that 'unacceptable' racial slur and we all known that," wrote Guyton. "So what exactly are y'all going to do about it. Crickets won't work this time."
Morris said, "We all know it wasn't his first time using that word. We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse."
This isn't even Wallen's first controversy of the last six months. Wallen was initially booted from his musical guest spot on Saturday Night Live in October after a video showed him partying maskless in a confined space, and kissing multiple women during a pandemic. He apologized for his actions, which he called "shortsighted," and returned to the show weeks later to perform ahead of the arrival of his double album Dangerous.