Comedian Tracy Morgan has promised to meet teenage victims of homophobia in an effort to make up for an anti-gay rant.
The 30 Rock star sparked outrage when he said at a recent gig that homophobic bullying was “insignificant” and that he would “stab” his own son if he came out.
Morgan quickly apologised for the comments and has now gone further, saying: “”I know how bad bullying can hurt. I was bullied when I was a kid.
“I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled, and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987.
“My dad wasn’t gay but I also learned about homophobia then because of how people treated people who were sick with that. Parents should support and love their kids no matter what.
“Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that. I hope that my fans gay, straight, whatever forgive, and I hope my family forgives me for this.”
The star has committed to a meeting with youngsters at the Ali Forney Center in New York, as well as parents who have lost children to anti-gay violence.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which elicited the promise from Morgan, said: “Meeting with gay and transgender youth shunned by their parents and families who have lost loved ones to anti-gay violence is an important first step. These meetings will help Tracy better understand that no one should be treated differently or subjected to violence.”
Morgan’s remarks stunned colleagues at 30 Rock, which has won awards for gay inclusion.
Creator Tina Fey told TMZ.com: “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 co-workers 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.”