Roland Martin | Tracy Morgan | Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes: Tracy Morgan 'Just Yelled 'Fire’ In A Crowded Theater'

More reactions are pouring in from celebrities and others in the wake of Tracy Morgan's homophobic rant. Yesterday, CNN's Roland Martin defended Morgan in a blog post claiming that Morgan's comedy routine was just that - a routine.

6a00d8341c730253ef01538ef760d8970b-250wi Say I’m wrong. Fine. Say I’m insensitive to gays and lesbians. Fine. I’ll wait for the usual bigots to say that I’m defending Tracy Morgan because he’s black. Fine.

But think for a moment at all the times you’ve laughed at comedians based on the things they had to say. Then ask yourself: Did I laugh, and why?

Sorry, if I’m being honest here and not focusing on political correctness. I just believe that many of you would be shocked and amazed that you laughed hysterically at some of the most sexist, homophobic, racist stuff imaginable by comedians of all shapes, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations.

Wanda Sykes condemned both Morgan and Martin for foolishly coming to his defense.

I fault the TN lawmakers. They've created an anti-gay environment. Don't believe Tracy would be so ignorant in LA. I do believe in free speech, but for a youth in TN or any other numerous place, Tracy just yelled, ‘Fire,’ in a crowded theater.

Ro, I love and respect you, so I feel that I can tell you that your column is some bullshit. We can do better. Tracy has the right to say whatever he wants to say, just like we have the right to say, not acceptable. and WE as a country. We used to picnic to watch public hangings, but WE figured out, that was some sick shit.

CNN has published an opinion piece by GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. Writes Barrios:

While it is certainly a good thing that Morgan has started to take responsibility for the offensive content of his routine by apologizing publicly to his fans and the gay community, he must do more to balance the harm that his words have inflicted. He could take one profound step to show his sincerity by meeting with parents and young people who have been personally effected by anti-gay violence or family rejection. GLAAD has reached out to Tracy Morgan's publicist and offered to facilitate such a meeting. We implore him to take us up on this.

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  1. A good reaction to Wanda's comments: did Tracy say what he said because he knew people in Tennessee were so bigoted that they'd be ok with it?

    Posted by: Melissa | Jun 12, 2011 5:22:29 AM

  2. I used to like Roland Martin, but not anymore. He'll defend Morgan, but I'll bet he didn't defend Michael Richards. Different words, same type context. If Martin can't see it, even after reading the rant, and still finds humor in it, then Martin is a bigot. Even Chris Rock subsequently reversed his opinion...of course that may be that he will be at the Tony's tomorrow and with the large gay community in theatre, he probably didn't want to get boo'd!

    Posted by: CB | Jun 12, 2011 6:03:58 AM

  3. Oh, cry me a rainbow. People get so butt-hurt (pardon the pun) over every little thing anymore, it's absolutely disgusting. What's to come next, a lawsuit?

    Posted by: Rant | Jun 12, 2011 6:10:46 AM

  4. To CB: You just made an absurd statement. Defend Michael Richards? Did MR use the "n" word as part of his stand-up routine or was it a stand alone attack? The answer is the latter...don't compare apples and oranges.

    Posted by: tom | Jun 12, 2011 6:11:54 AM

  5. well TOM looks like YOU made an absurd statement but its ok. MR claimed it was part of his act as did TM so i guess nice try. go lie down now.

    Posted by: adam | Jun 12, 2011 6:49:13 AM

  6. I'm 55, I'm gay, and I thing Tracy Morgan neerds to be fired from 30 Rock. Tina Fey had it right when she stated that without the lesbians and gay men working on 30 Rock, he'd have nothing to say, wear, no where to say it, and more...

    I like 30 Rock - it's all I watch on TV. It is clever, exremely well written, and does not need a moron like Tracy Morgan to keep going. What is wrong with him? Tme to go, Trcy.

    Posted by: JD | Jun 12, 2011 6:52:31 AM

  7. Sykes is right. Having read what the purported comic said, I don't see any attempt at humor. This was an attack that has ramifications in the community on gay people--and particularly gay youth.

    What is more, the term "political correctness" is often a nasty way of describing sensitivity for people's feelings. Frankly, there is not an overabundance of sensitivity in America for the feelings of minorities. On the contrary, Americans are some of the most unfeeling, insensitive, and crass people in any westernized nation on earth. People defend their ugliest behavior saying their critics are guilty of political correctness. It is time to call them out on it.

    Posted by: candideinncc | Jun 12, 2011 6:53:31 AM

  8. @Tom, please, if you will, tell me the jokes that Morgan said that you found were hilarious. I am going by reports. He didn't, by all accounts, tell any jokes about gays, but ranted repeat ranted against gays. There were no 'punch lines' according to the report, it was a RANT, just like Richards. I won't defend Richards, I won't defend Morgan. It IS the same thing! Since you seem to know the routine, tell me what Morgan said that was funny so we can all laugh and not be offended. Work back from where he stated that if his son was gay, he would kill him. That would be a hilarious place to start!

    Posted by: CB | Jun 12, 2011 6:57:39 AM

  9. While I agree with most of the criticism of Morgan, this whole uproar is based on a critique posted on Facebook.
    Where can I actually see the firsthand content in context of the show, and make up my own mind?

    Posted by: Jim | Jun 12, 2011 7:16:39 AM

  10. God even hates gays
    so why should the normal person like them?

    Posted by: alana | Jun 12, 2011 7:17:20 AM

  11. REALLY!!!!!! You folks are kidding. What happened to freedom of speech. Listen, comedians crack jokes on all people!! GET OVER IT!! If your gay or lesbian that is your choice. People DO NOT HAVE TO agree with your lifestyle or walk on egg shells because your so sensitive. How he feels towards gay people is his feeling. IMUS had some ignorant things to say about black people yet gay and white people weren't overly condemning him. The
    Man can say whatever he wants and doesn't need to meet with Any community to say anything. If you don't like it, don't support him.

    Posted by: Pauline | Jun 12, 2011 7:29:28 AM

  12. Speaking as a fan of many comedians from all walks of life, I don't think it was blown out of proportion any more than it should have been. I just hate that fact the T. Morgan had to be confronted with his livelihood and the notion that his very existence evolves around "those who chose to lead that lifestyle". Seems to me that it is a very tough position to be in and if it were me I would try to seek options to avoid having that kinda backlash. Also, if turned around would "someone who chooses that lifestyle" were to express their opinion about something, would they be reprimanded..I think not...I see and hear them express their minds all the time and nothing is done about it. I guess that's just how things are.

    Posted by: Ianlndilem | Jun 12, 2011 7:47:03 AM

  13. Pauline - this is not a freedom of speech issue. No-one is saying that Tracy Morgan cannot speak the vile hatred within him. But we are certainly allowed to condemn his toxic hatred.

    Posted by: SteveC | Jun 12, 2011 7:57:33 AM

  14. in what world do any of you deem this as being appropriate behavior for a celebrity to have. especially one employed by an over the air broadcast network supported by tax dollars. Mr Morgan Stated his personal opinion on a subject matter that was not put into comedic form. he said if his kid came home acting gay he would stab him. two days later a teen boyfriend was babysitting his girlfriends son on long island and killed the child for being effeminate. this type of hate speech is admired by followers of Mr. Morgans. if they see no real reprimand for the thought it will not be very hard from them to glorify it with action. already thousands of gays are beaten, robbed and some killed for walking down the street appearing to be gay. how dare any of you who know a gay person defend his continued employment _on broadcast television. let him do the same penance as Don Imus, wyp simply stated black female basketball players had nappy heads. let Tracy yet removed from public airwaves and move his act to cable and pay per view. he will still have great career, but it is not a career to be supported on a national broadcast station.

    Posted by: doug | Jun 12, 2011 7:59:02 AM

  15. Wanda Sykes is to commended for bringing up how Tracy Morgan's rant would go down in Tennessee in the wake of its recent spate of anti-gay laws.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 12, 2011 8:07:36 AM

  16. Satire, ribbing, comedy roasts, rickles, dangerfield, pryor, long list to add, all could never have happened and shall not happen again if this politically correct b.s.; it really is really thought control, is not addressed.

    No ifs, ands or buts, FREE SPEECH is in danger here. No b.s. appeals to heartstrings about 'how will parents fewl' or 'homophobic attacks' Whether remarks come from an entertainment based instance or a stand alone rant; Without action to further the statement it is and should be free speech, NOT hate speech.

    Posted by: joe macke | Jun 12, 2011 8:13:00 AM

  17. I cannot believe there are people in our community who would defend Morgan and his comments. This was not comedy. There was no setup and punchline or even an attempt at observation. This was a hate filled rant, pure and simple. I must give Mr. Morgan props though for somehow bamboozling what appears to be a lot of people into giving him free passes to say to people it's cool to kill gay people. Not many folks can manage to do that. Maybe he should run for president of Uganda with Mr. Martin as VP. Looks like he'd get a lot of votes from self hating gays and fake allies like Pauline (unless she's a troll.)

    Posted by: Buck | Jun 12, 2011 8:15:06 AM

  18. I think Roland was correct when he said that if we really thought about what we've all laughed at from comics we would be ashamed.

    For example, to some...Sarah Silverman is incredibly hateful, hurtful, and bitchy. But...LOGO always advertises for her. To overweight people, Kathy Griffin is OOL constantly. When she criticized Bristol Palin she was also calling every size 12-16 teen: FATTY!!! I love my RPDR but Mimi Imfurst took every single ugly feminine stereotype and ran with it.

    Carlos Mencia, Dave Chappell...hell, Bill Hicks has called for death on people and it was funny because it wasn't "our" people.

    I am anti-bullying, but I am anti-bullying for everyone. I am sensitive to EVERYONE being hurt with fists or words.

    I didn't forget high school when I left it. And when I taught it...nothing had changed. Fat girls were picked on as much if not more than gay kids. Poor kids with crappy clothes were picked on--heck at the school I just taught at, a rich gay kid was the ringleader bullying this girl with bad hair and clothes. Bullying is universal. Who doesn't remember the kids with acne that were picked on?

    And if you want to talk one week in the US there are more women attacked and brutalized than gay people in one year. Has that stopped jokes about women? Would anyone get fired over telling jokes about women?

    And yet humor at women's expense--even violent humor-- is A-okay.

    I don't like selective outrage. I think that its just as ugly usually at what people are raging against.

    While you can all bring up incidents of anti-gay violence, you would be loathe to bring them up about women because there are just too damn many to count. Last week in my town, a woman and her two kids were killed by her boyfriend because she nagged him about bills. No one knows her name and it didn't make national news.

    Either boycott every bit of racist, misogynistic, homophobic garbage, or put some temperance to the outrage. The problem in this country is not that it is filled with homophobic people, the problem is that it is filled with self-centered, cold-hearted people.

    Posted by: Rin | Jun 12, 2011 8:17:17 AM

  19. "Satire, ribbing, comedy roasts, rickles, dangerfield, pryor, long list to add, all could never have happened and shall not happen again if this politically correct b.s.; it really is really thought control, is not addressed."

    Richard Pryor told Eddie Murphy to shut his yap when Murphy's routine ventured into the virulently homophobic. Saying that there are no limits for most comics is fundamentally absurd.

    "No ifs, ands or buts, FREE SPEECH is in danger here. No b.s. appeals to heartstrings about 'how will parents fewl' or 'homophobic attacks' Whether remarks come from an entertainment based instance or a stand alone rant; Without action to further the statement it is and should be free speech, NOT hate speech."

    Free speech is no more being attacked here than it was being attacked in the case of Richards. Richards paid for his 'free speech' by having his career evaporate, and Morgan should similarly pay.

    Posted by: Nat | Jun 12, 2011 8:21:23 AM

  20. OK Buck. great then lets put domain Imus back on CBS broadcasting and restore his salary. all he said was that black female basketball players had was nappy heads. the NAACP demanded that he be taken off public broadcast TV and radio. that racist behavior was not suited to public broadcasting standards. so I would hope yo value your and friends lives so much that You would tuning being stabbed for acting gay by parents would be worse than explaining the appropriate word for black female basketball players hair

    Posted by: doug | Jun 12, 2011 8:28:34 AM

  21. Don't forget folks, ROLAND MARTIN and his wife are proponents of "ex-gay therapy". Ya know, "pray away the gay". She saved Roland from the "homosexual lifestyle", whatever that is.

    Posted by: ROLAND LA HETERO MARTIN | Jun 12, 2011 8:31:35 AM

  22. There seems to be some group that has caught on to trolling in mass gay and progressive sites lately. I've seen an overload of comments on many sites that are obviously not from people familiar with the regular content of the sites making totally disjointed nonsensical arguments. Must be some evangelical xtian cult who've been instructed from the pulpit that this is the new tactic.

    Posted by: Jersey | Jun 12, 2011 8:36:06 AM

  23. I feel he can say what he wants. I can also protest, not buy a ticket, encourage those who would punish him and help to see his career ended. The insensitivity in light of the homophobes in Tenn. and our epidemic of teen suicides should put everything in perspective. How soon they forget. I just wonder how long he's been doing this "act". Its one thing for a celebrity to be drunk and rant, its another to sell tickets to the rant.

    Posted by: glennmcgahee | Jun 12, 2011 8:38:25 AM

  24. Comedians can make fun of Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, the disabled and people from New York. But God forbid making a joke about gay people. I wonder why there's so much hyper-sensitvity to being gay.
    If you want to be gay, be gay. Knock yourself out. No one really cares.
    Or is that the problem? Frankie and Johnnie aren't getting the attention and respect they think they deserve for being just so courageous.

    Posted by: Charles | Jun 12, 2011 8:40:35 AM

  25. Freedom of Speech.....

    Some of us need a bit of schooling on what Freedom of Speech actually is. The second amendment, where our freedom of speech comes from, guarantees us that the GOVERNMENT will not interfere in our rights of speech. It does not guarantees us freedom from being criticized by others for what we say. It does not guarantee us that our employer will not fire us for what we say. The government has not attempted to stop Tracy Morgan from saying whatever he wants to say. He hasn't been thrown in jail for what he said. So, in this instance, our freedom of speech is still in tact and in no danger at all.

    Posted by: Tim NC | Jun 12, 2011 8:41:35 AM

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