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Morgan Wallen addresses his use of a racist slur in 2021: ‘There’s no excuse’

Morgan Wallen wears a black shirt, black pants and a black cap as he sings into a microphone onstage
In his first interview in two years, Morgan Wallen apologized again for his use of a racist slur.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
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Morgan Wallen has apologized again after being caught on camera using a racist slur in 2021.

The “Last Night” artist gave his first interview in two years for a story published Wednesday in Billboard magazine in which he discussed his rise and fall and rise again in the music industry over the last few years and all the mistakes he’s made along the way.

The 30-year-old singer first courted controversy in 2020 when his scheduled “Saturday Night Live” performance was canceled after clips surfaced on social media showing him partying in tightly packed crowds without a mask during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He ended up being rescheduled on the NBC sketch comedy show a couple of months after the initial incident.

The country superstar landed in hotter waters in 2021 after he was recorded shouting a racist slur outside his Nashville home after a night out with friends.

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“Take care of this p— ass mother—,” he said in the video, published by TMZ, and then uttered the N-word.

Wallen was then banned from the nation’s two largest radio networks and a TV network, pulled from music-streaming services and suspended by his record label.

In the two years since, Wallen‘s career has bounced back. He reached the top of the country charts again and has played to packed stadiums across the country.

“There’s no excuse. I’ve never made an excuse. I never will make an excuse,” the “Thinkin’ Bout Me” singer told Billboard. “I’ve talked to a lot of people, heard stories [about] things that I would have never thought about because I wasn’t the one going through it.”

While Wallen expressed remorse, he also noted that he was disheartened by how people perceived him after the incident.

“[I]n my heart I was never that guy that people were portraying me to be, so there was a little bit of like, ‘Damn, I’m kind of actually mad about this a little bit because I know I shouldn’t have said this, but I’m really not that guy,’” he said. “I put myself in just such a sh— spot, you know? Like, ‘You really messed up here, guy.’ If I was that guy, then I wouldn’t have cared. I wouldn’t have apologized. I wouldn’t have done any of that if I really was that guy that people were saying about me.”

In the wake of public scrutiny, Wallen met with leaders in the Black music community, whom he said helped him “to learn and try to be better.” In 2022, the country singer and his record label donated $500,000 to organizations including the National Museum of African American Music, Rock Against Racism and the BMAC.

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Elsewhere in the wide-spanning interview, Wallen talked about his hesitancy to comment on social and political issues, saying that he does not plan on endorsing a candidate in the 2024 national election.

“That’s not where my head’s at. I’m not an expert,” he said. “I just don’t know enough to try to guide people. I know what I know, and that’s music.”

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