30 Rock Co-Stars, NBC React To Tracy Morgan Controversy

Fellow 30 Rock star Tina Fey expressed her disapproval of Tracy Morgan's now infamous homophobic rant, which she called "disturbing." She also comes to his defense saying that he is not hateful. In his apology yesterday, Morgan also stressed that he was not "hateful." Her statement to TMZ:

Tinatracey "I'm glad to hear that Tracy apologized for his comments. Stand-up comics may have the right to 'work out' their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience, but the violent imagery of Tracy's rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community. It also doesn't line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person. I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at '30 Rock,' without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket. The other producers and I pride ourselves on '30 Rock' being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace."

Another 30 Rock co-star, Alec Baldwin, reacted to the controversy. He tweeted: "No one's making excuses for Tracy."

Openly gay NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt issued this statement:

"I speak for NBC and myself personally when I say we do not condone hate or violence of any kind and I am pleased to see Tracy Morgan apologizing for recent homophobic remarks in his standup appearance.  We will always recognize an artist's freedom to express him or herself, but not when reckless things are said no matter what the context.  Unfortunately, Tracy's comments reflect negatively on both "30 Rock" and NBC – two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations – and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated."

Entertainment Weekly reports that fellow comic Chris Rock defended Morgan's rant: “I dont know about you, but I dont want to live in world where Tracy Morgan cant say foul inappropriate s—.” GLAAD tweeted back: “Language about stabbing kids for being gay isn’t ‘foul.’ It’s dangerous.”

The Human Rights Campaign believes Morgan should do more than just apologize: “Tracy Morgan exercised extremely poor judgment and he did the right thing by apologizing. But that’s just not enough. He’s a role model and Morgan now has a responsibility to make amends for his horribly hurtful and dangerous ‘comedy’ routine. He also needs to go further than his apology and correct the record: no one should feel ashamed because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and they should definitely not become a victim of violence. Words have consequences and Morgan should be held to a higher standard. Until he does something meaningful, his brand will remain tarnished.”

Comments

  1. VictorG says

    Typical liberal whitewash. Both Tina Fey’s and Bob Greenblatt at NBC’s responses are unacceptable because they do not go far enough. And it allows Chris Rock and that awful guy on CNN, Roland Martin, (and by default Alec Baldwin) the chance to defend hate speech.

    There is only one acceptable outcome, and that is for NBC Universal and 30 Rock to fire Tracy Morgan. He has said evil things and he cannot take them back or possibly apologize for them. The only way to deal with hateful murderous homophobes is to silence them by taking away their public platform.

    Why aren’t GLAAD and the HRC calling for a boycott of NBC and 30 Rock? Where are the great gay characters (not simpering closet cases)on 30 Rock anyway? Hello?!?

  2. Francis says

    Nope, sorry, but these stock answers will not cut the mustard in this situation. Seems Fey/Baldwin/NBC etc. thinks things will be forgotten with the standard apology+remorse=forgiven routine. They’re trying not to touch the oven while it’s hot and I guess expect that this won’t be remembered during the fall when 30 Rock is back on. How wrong they absolutely are.

    The only acceptable option at this point is Tracy Morgan being fired from 30 Rock. Any other decision is a clear message that it’s OK to use anti-gay hate speech and get over it. It is not OK and there should be stiff and swift consequences. Pressure needs to be on NBC and Tina Fey to do the right thing in this case.

  3. Patrick says

    VictorG, I wouldn’t exactly call Jack’s assistant, Jonathan a simpering closet case. We all know he’s a homo, if a caricature-ish one… which I find funny.

  4. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    “…Unfortunately, Tracy’s comments reflect negatively on both “30 Rock” and NBC – two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations – and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.” – NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt

    If Tracy’s back on “30 Rock” in the Fall then it IS TOLERATED by NBC.

  5. says

    NBC, 30 Rock, Tina Fey all have reason to cover-up for and provide excuse for Morgan’s hateful tirade but it is for naught. Tracy Morgan’s career is dead and 30 Rock will fade away quickly. The damage done by Tracy Morgan cannot be repaired by an obvious “dear God save my career” disingenuous apology. Any show or movie the man appears in should be boycotted entirely.

  6. Jake says

    Pathetic, I really expected more from Tina Fey.

    30 Rock is gone from my TIVO. Any future TV shows of movies with this vile man will not get a second of my time or a penny from me.

    Welcome to the Mel Gibson Express to nowhere Mr. Morgan.

  7. elg says

    Tracy Morgan “career” needs to be destroyed. It’s really that simple.

    The destruction of Tracy Morgan’s career will serve notice to others in the entertainment industry that his brand of vicious homophobia will not be tolerated.

  8. Dorishin says

    People please…If you use the “N” word, or you’re anti-Semitic, or use hate speech about the LGBT community you are going to have to pay.
    For me seeing him do a New Yorkers for Gay Marriage or It gets better spot would be good. Go on Ellen and face her and apologize in person that would be another good thing. Do some “real” damage control and show your sincerity otherwise it’s a non apology.

  9. Leroy Laflamme says

    Neither colleagues excusing his behaviour by saying they know him to be a person who is ‘not hateful’ nor his disineguously worded apology, can alter Morgan’s true feelings about the situation. His publicist Nicole Charbot is on record as having said (twice) “There is no comment. Thank you for your inquiry.” Any further statements from his camp can be nothing but ineffective damage control – too little, too late. Morgan’s viriolic rant, shamelessly disguised as comedy, speaks for itself.

  10. Max says

    I think 30 Rock would be a lot better without Morgan, but I’m not so into lynching people and destroying careers because someone said something stupid and/or mean. No one is allowed to say anything anymore, and I find that more offensive than Morgan’s nasty, anti-gay rant.

  11. Jersey says

    Maybe Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin don’t realize 14 year olds get shot in the back of the head or burned and cut to pieces in Puerto Rico or bullied into hanging themselves. There really should be zero tolerance for speech like this from someone like Tracy Morgan.

  12. Rob says

    Come on Tina he’s clearly a hateful person. The guy was advocating killing his own son if he turned out to be gay. If that’s not hate speech, i’m not sure what is. In another country, the guy could be jailed for such comments under hate speech laws.

    On a side note, I was a huge fan of tina fey and 30 rock. Tracy jordan was never my favorite character, but he did have some funny lines, but now seeing him on the show just disgusts me. There ya go tina, the man ruined your show. So maybe you should act like you care instead of putting out some weak ass apology.

  13. ohplease says

    If Morgan were white and said similar things about blacks, his career would be over forever.

    By the way, Max, I find your comment about “lynching” about as offensive as Morgan’s comments, which, in both cases, was the desired effect. The difference is that anybody can be a jackass on the internet and nobody will care, but being a rich jackass with a real platform and an actual audience means that person forfeits his privileges — particularly when he espouses murdering gay kids, which you seem to have no problem with.

    Morgan isn’t owed his privilege, especially when he doesn’t have talent, charm, intelligence, wit, looks or anything else we normally associate with actors or comedians. He’s easily the worst thing on 30 Rock, a show I’ll never watch again. Tina Fey foisted him upon us, it’s her responsibility to un-foist him.

  14. romeo says

    Tina Fey and the rest of the 30 Rock company are being disengenuous, and they know it. This is not the first time this jerk has done this. In fact, he has a history of it. He has his fans, and he is an integral part of the show, so no matter what he does, they’re going to try to smooth it over. Personally, I’d prefer Ms. Fey not insult my intelligence. Apparently, 30 Rock has to stay in the toilet with this loud-mouthed loser, so they should just shut up when he spouts off. When you’re in the toilet, it’s best not to open your mouth.

  15. Max says

    Ohplease, you are only offended by my comment for the sake of being offended. Read it again, moron. I am CONDEMNING a “lynching,” not advocating one. Grow a d@mn brain cell.

  16. Francis says

    The fact all of these people think they can smooth this over (Morgan, his PR individual, Fey, Baldwin, NBC execs) is as much of an insult as Morgan’s words. They think they can just pretend this didn’t happen and it will all be forgotten? That game is over.

    Based on a TMZ poll done which 80K have responded to, 2/3s of people find offense in Tracy Morgan’s comments. The fact 1/3 of people don’t is a disgrace, but the fact that a large majority find offense in these actions shows me that, no, they won’t get away with trying to smooth it over. At the end of the day, you either tolerate this type of speech or you don’t and Tracy Morgan continuing to work for NBC would show us all that they tolerate this speech.

  17. nodnarb says

    That response by Tina Fey is actually pretty condemning. And if you can’t read between the lines of “printed-out paycheck from accounting” then you aren’t too bright.

  18. says

    There are a lot of outraged comments right now, but how many of the commenters are just going to go back to watching “30 Rock” as if nothing happened? Our militancy has about as much consistency to it as runny, half-baked custard . . . I’ve seen it time and time again.

  19. deedrdo says

    what disturbs me about tina and NBC’s responses is this notion that ‘an artist has every right to his freedom of speech and to work out his rawest material blah blah blah.” this sounds just like the christianists who fight so mightily against us, claiming that our freedoms and right to exist somehow tramples upon their right to spew hatred against us. i agree that you are free to say what whatever you want but your fellow human beings are free to give you a one way ticket to nowhere. remember when andrew dice clay’s “one night with dice” and it’s homophobic content in the mid 80’s? we haven’t heard from him since.

  20. Jnyca says

    Child Abuse is not funny.
    Homophobia is not funny.
    And Tracy Morgan is really NOT funny.

    And if Tina Fey wants to have any sort of career after this (since her fan base is intelligent, and very gay) she better fire Tracy. It’s bad enough with having that homophobe sherri shepherd on occasionally, but this was too much. Unacceptable. It reflects poorly on her, and honestly none of her other gay employees should be made to deal with someone who says this kind of BS. Apology schmoo schmology.

    And I agree with “T”, if his “joke” (which it isnt) was something more like…. If my son came home with a white girlfriend I’d stab him/her… or if my son came home jewish I’d stab him……

    I think there would be an even bigger outcry, clearly.

  21. Rowan says

    I think Fey’s comment is spot on because it’s true but not about him not being a hateful person because the dude us hateful.

    Thing is, they want to keep him n the show.

  22. angela says

    I honestly thought her comment was perfect. What you want her to do..drag him out in the middle of the street and start stoning him? I would like her to let Tracy go from the show. Thats about it. But i’m not going to condemn her for her stance on it. Clearly, she isn’t for gay violence. Tracy is. Let’s keep focus.

  23. kodiak says

    He just woke up in a world where gay people don’t take this sort of abuse anymore. Have his eyes opened? It would be great if he became a spokesperson for ending abuse against gays, kids, etc.
    There are a lot of people who identify with him, and if he becomes sensitized to these issues, he would be doing a service to himself and others. He needs to come out of his narrow world view, and recognize that he was feeding the flames of a fire he didn’t start, and begin to put it out. He should read all these comments, google himself and see what gay people think. Time to grow your brain, Mr. Morgan.

  24. Tangina The Psychic says

    I love 30 Rock and Tina Fey. But I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch the show any more if Tracy Morgan’s still in it. It’ll just leave a nasty taste. I’m not gonna actively boycott or campaign against it, but I’ll find it hard to tune in any more. This whole thing just makes me feel sad. Sad to read all the anger on these threads. Sad that violence happens towards gay people. Sad that Morgan doesn’t get it.

  25. JoeInSF says

    I think these comments point to the fact that gay people are no longer going to tolerate attacks on ourselves anymore…from not from a politician, the pope, or in this case, a comedian. We finally love ourselves enough to say stop and that’s enough. And most of society is siding with us, too. We have reached a tipping point.

  26. Andrew Clemmer says

    I think the message is clear: Don’t be sorry, Tracy Morgan. Be better. I don’t think excluding or shunning Morgan is the answer, but calling him into question, asking him to recognize the queerness of his own community, and reminding him that one ought to respect his own community if he expects to share in it. I think his peers at 30 Rockefeller Place have taken the appropriate loving action to say, “You are better than that, Tracy, and ought to know better.” Chris Rock, free speech does not create victims. Homophobia is an illness, and I hope you find help. It sounds like Morgan has true friends who wish to help him be his better self. That is love, and that is how to beat hate and the ignorance and fear from which is is born.

  27. lewlew says

    If the best a person can come up with to defend her dear friend who she knows well is to say he’s “sleep and self-centered,” that is no defense at all. Fire him. I no longer watch Mel or Kramer or winning! This one joins that list. I’ve emailed NBC.

  28. Paul R says

    I never understood why Morgan was hired for 30 Rock. His character is awful, and firing him would provide space for an actor-comedian with actual talent.

    They rarely show the actual show (TGS) on 30 Rock, but the premise is that Morgan is TGS’s main draw, much to the disdain of other actors and the writers. Even for a satirical show, that’s inane. He simply isn’t funny, and now he’s proven that he’s incredibly offensive. TGS is rarely shown, so losing Morgan would hardly damage 30 Rock.

    I hate to say it, but it seems like NBC is doing a calculus of who they’re more worried about offending: the black audience who would be angry if Morgan were fired (see: Chris Rock’s lame rationale) or the gay audience who doesn’t want to watch an entertainer who says they’re better off dead. My guess is that the gays will lose even though this has NOTHING to do with race. I wonder what kind of contract Morgan has.

  29. Gregoire says

    Yeah, I actually thought Tina Fey’s response to be rather damning of Tracy, in her usual, dry way. Don’t see what all the fuss is. Maybe the lynch mob would prefer she call for his severed head on a plate and presented to her, Salome-style.

  30. Richard Farias says

    Good lord, did every one of you fail the reading comprehension section of the SATs?

    Ms. Fey’s statement EVISCERATED Morgan. She called him a lazy, self absorbed hack who would be out of a job if not for the gays and lesbians working behind the scenes. For all intents and purposes, she told him that he needs to beg for forgiveness or he’s not coming back. The mention of his paycheck made that clear.

  31. Richard Farias says

    @ Gregoire: If these maroons couldn’t understand Tina Fey’s statement, I can pretty much guarantee you that they wouldn’t understand the reference to Salome.

  32. Clif3012 says

    Its amazing how many people here have such a good understanding of entertainment law and think Fey or NBC could fire Morgan at-will for comments he made outside the 30 Rock environment.

    Firing Morgan would probably end 30 Rock, considering Baldwin is on his way out already, and all those gay and lesbian colleagues would subsequently be unemployed, but, hey, a POINT WOULD BE MADE. Fey has commented numerous times about the sense of responsibility she feels for the 200 people who are employed by 30 Rock.

    Morgan’s comments were vile, but I don’t blame Fey for being both disgusted and refusing to destroy her friend, show and colleagues’ livelihoods.

  33. Ricco says

    Does anyone remember what Suzanne Sommers did as executive producer of her show “Step By Step” when she learned that her co-star, Sasha Mitchell, was beating his girlfriend? She fired him. She did not go on ET and talk about what a good person he really was, deep down.

    And while I do not advocate that Tracy Morgan’s career be forever destroyed, necessarily, that is up to him, he should be fired from the show. What he did went way beyond what Kobe, and others athletes do in calling someone a Fa**ot. This was literally hate speech that acted to incite people in the audience against LGBT people.

    Tina Fey could take a page from the classy Suzanne Sommers on dealing with violent people.

  34. Jersey says

    I am sure that any contract NBC had Morgan sign wouldn’t allow him to take down the careers of so many people. I’m sure they have the right to fire a guy for advocating stabbing his own child for being gay. It will be very easy for me to cut Morgan and Tina Fey out of my life and I say this as someone who bought her autobiography twice (one for myself and another as a gift) and loves her dearly. There are just too many other funny comediennes to turn to as a replacement for one who will not fire someone like Morgan when they have the power to do so. It’s time to put and end to violence against gay youth goddamnit!

  35. adam says

    Tracy Morgan can say whatever he wants. Nobody is stopping him. However, we have a right to complain about it. Free speech works both ways.

    As for Tina Fey, she’s just another liberal who’ll defend another liberal. They always stick together. They will hurt and mock others – even through the use of prejudice – but they will get awfully precious if somebody criticizes them.

  36. FunMe says

    Apparently this is not Tracy’s first time he ranted his homophobic and hateful opinion in his “comedy” act:

    http://instinctmagazine.com/bl

    “After an alleged barrage of lewd jokes and simulations—including jabs at the First Family and anti-gay rhetoric (Tracy reportedly called homosexuality a “choice”)—hordes of audience members reportedly walked out of the auditorium in disgust. ”

    That was in 2009.

  37. shanesoho says

    Andy, if you had chosen an image from 30 Rock of Liz Lemon yelling at Tracy Morgan, as opposed to the one of the two of them embracing and smiling, would some of your readers/commenters have reacted differently to her statement?

  38. Jeff says

    I’m sorry Chris Rock, put yourself in the same situation several years ago. If someone who was born a certain way, whether African American, Gay or both was being attacked for that alone, why should we just let it go as a joke? It is NOT called foul its called HATE and that is not funny, especially during people committing suicide for that point alone.

    I will no longer support Tracy Morgan or Chris Rock.

    Being a minority and gay, which I happened to be attacked personally today at a store for my “gay voice” I WILL NOT LET SOMEONE GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING ANYMORE!

    I’m done, Thank you for Kevin Rogers, for he opened up this discussion! Hope everyone can realize that one person can make a difference!

    :)

  39. TampaZeke says

    I REALLY hate when someone attacks gay people VERY SPECIFICALLY and then assholes like the gay president of NBC release statements about how they will not support hateful speech of ANY kind rather than addressing THE kind of hateful speech was used. They went WAY out of their way to not mention, NOT EVEN ONCE, who it was that they were apologizing to and for what. Those who hate us are VERY specific in naming us but our so called “allies” and “fierce defenders” get all vague and ethereal when responding to the haters.

    The NBC response was as insulting to me as Morgan’s rant.

  40. Gregoire says

    “As for Tina Fey, she’s just another liberal who’ll defend another liberal. They always stick together. They will hurt and mock others – even through the use of prejudice – but they will get awfully precious if somebody criticizes them.”

    I just wanted to re-quote Adam’s line from above, because it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and it makes me laugh.

  41. Paul R says

    @Tampazeke: reread the comment from the chairman of NBC. He says Tracy and Tracy Morgan.

    I’m not saying it’s a sufficient response, but he did call him out by name. So did Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. What they didn’t say is, “We’ve got a great new season planned! Without a hate monger!” Because frankly, the last thing I want to see is forced PSAs by Tracy Morgan, much less his continued appearance on an otherwise great show.

    As others have implied, the most interesting part of Fey’s comments is that they don’t ask that the apology be accepted by the GLBT community, but by his coworkers.

  42. Angela Channing says

    Was it me, or was Tina Fey’s line “too sleepy and self-centered” a bit glib? Would she have been this glib if he went on a misogynist rant advocating violence against women?

  43. Joe Smith says

    What do you suppose would be the reaction if the actor who plays Kenneth said he would stab his daughter to death if she brought home a n*****? Would Tina be making jokes about how sweet he is? Would he still have a job?

  44. Gregoire says

    I’m NOT justifying Morgan by saying this, but Washington did direct his slurs at an actual cast member. Morgan’s is in some arguable context of an outside comedy-gone-wrong routine.

  45. nic says

    @OHPLEASE,

    indeed, there is censorship of the most detestable sort on this blog. andy towle has become a limp-wristed observer of the parade of time, content to to wave her handkerchief at tight-panted men on the parade route. she would rather protect a black bigot while censoring real commentary from gay men.

  46. Rin says

    @Angela Channing

    Tell me, kind lady, how often do people get fired or a group of people work themselves into this kind of outrage when jokes about women are told?

    To answer your question, no, she and the rest of the world wouldn’t have been as glib over misogynistic humor. They would have ignored that kind of humor, or made it the focus of an entire television program like Two and a Half Men.

    Misogyny is so rampant and accepted–hello Rick–that it goes without a blip on anyone’s radar. Even women do it to each other.

    This is selective outrage. Calling him a homophobe and a jerk is appropriate, calling for him to be fired in moral outrage when television programs like Two and a Half Men pollute the airwaves seems a bit selective in the outrage department.

    Yes, there is gay bullying and anti-gay violence. Andy reports on it daily. He doesn’t report on violence against women because if he did there would be no room for anything else.

    I’m not arguing that people shouldn’t be angry, but I am suggesting that people look at what they’ve laughed at, what they have allowed others to laugh at, and then put their own feelings and emotions into perspective.

    Will this make anyone react this strongly when women are disparaged or persecuted?

    Will Dan Choi be toppled from his GLBT leadership perch for what he said about “bleeding once a month” as an insult to a man?

    Will the plight of overweight kids get national publicity?

    I’d like to see us grow as a kinder, gentler, more respectful nation where everyone’s feelings are taken into consideration or just let the dice fly.

  47. evolutionisfact says

    Find out which companies advertise on this half assed show! Send them letters informing them that you find Mr. Morgan’s homophobia distasteful and that if they continue to advertise on this particular show then guess what: our GAY dollars will go to their competition!

  48. says

    i’m terribly disappointed and disgusted by tracy morgan, homophobic tirade. although i do watch ’30 rock’, i actually never found him funny anyway, but just a new and improved version of steppin fetchin, a sad and pathetic sterotype. i am no longer watching ’30 rock’,or anything tracy morgan is in. he’s simply not that funny,plus theres others out there with far more talent

  49. Derrick from Philly says

    T and Jinca:

    You don’t have to substitute “Black” for “Gay”–the little Gay boy being stabbed to death by Tracy Morgan would be Black, wouldn’t he? Like you give a f.ck.

  50. Frank says

    Really, would firing him even make a difference on the show? He isn’t integral to any plot. He just pops into scenes and makes stupid comments.

  51. Paul R says

    @Frank: yes, but at least his absence from the show would mean the absence of tens of thousands from his bank account. It would probably make him even more hateful, but at least he’d have a much smaller audience.

  52. says

    I agree Tracy Jordan went to far, but since I was not there and did not see or hear it first hand it is hard to judge, I think most jokes if you hear them told wrong would sound pretty bad and offensive. Hopefully when all is said and done it is just a bad joke in the end. On a more uplifting note there are a lot of more positive stories by local gay writers at http://www.thegayhotspot.com I have really enjoyed these reads.

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