Morgan Wallen has issued what he called a “long overdue” statement on Wednesday evening (Feb. 10), eight days after a video of himself using the N-word surfaced online.
The singer/songwriter said that he took time to collect his thoughts and “seek some real guidance” before speaking out. In the five-plus minute video clip, Wallen discussed the video that was shared by TMZ and addresses his initial apology that was released.
“I wrote many detailed thoughts and only a portion of those got used, which painted me into an even more careless light,” he says. “I’m here to hopefully show you that that’s not the truth.”
Wallen went on to address the clip directly as well as the circumstances leading up to the moment that was caught on camera.
“The video you saw is me on hour 72 of [a] 72 [hour] of a bender and that’s not something I’m proud of either,” he reveals. “Obviously, the natural thing to do is apologize further and just continue to apologize but because you got caught and that’s not what I wanted to do.”
“I let so many people down, who mean a lot to me and who’ve given so much to me and it’s just not fair,” he continues. “I let my parents down and they’re the furthest thing from the person in that video. I let my son down and I’m not okay with that.”
Wallen also revealed that he has accepted some invitations from “some amazing black organizations” in an effort to educate himself and “engage in some very real and honest conversations.” While he admits he was nervous to do so, Wallen said he was shown true kindness and was inspired by them reaching out to him.
“The very people I hurt and they had every right to step on my neck while I was down to not show me any grace but they did the exact opposite, they offered me grace and they also paired that with an offer to learn and to grow,” he explains, adding that he has had the opportunity to hear personal stories from black people throughout the past week that “honestly shook me.”
“I know what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to some of the trials I heard about from them,” he acknowledges. “I came away from those discussions with a deep appreciation for them and a clearer understanding of the weight of my words. I wish the circumstances were different for me to learn these things, but I’m also glad it started the process for me to do so. I’ve got many more things to learn but I already know that I don’t want to add to any division. This week was a big lesson that sometimes we could do just that without even knowing, our actions matter. Our words matter. And I just want to encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistake, there’s no reason to downplay what I did, it matters and please know I am carefully choosing my next steps in repair.”
Wallen shared that he is now nine days sober.
“It’s not all that long of a time but it’s enough to know the man in that video is not the man that I’m trying to be,” he says. “I’ve had this week to think about times when I’m sober and I’m really proud of who I am and my actions for the most part in those moments. When I look at the times that I’m not, it seems to be where the majority of my mistakes are made, so I decided to go off the grid for a little while and get used to making good decisions.”
He closed his post with a message to his fans, saying, “I have one favor to ask, I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me but for today, please don’t. I was wrong. It’s on me to take ownership for this and I fully accept any penalties I’m facing.”
Click below to watch Wallen’s complete video statement.
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Wallen has faced extensive backlash following his use of the racial slur. On February 3, one day after the video surfaced, his label, Big Loud, revealed that his recording contract had been suspended indefinitely. Additionally, his music was pulled from hundreds of radio stations across the country and removed from major playlists across various DSPs, including Spotify and Apple Music. The Academy of Country Music revealed that he is ineligible for the upcoming ACM Awards and will not be invited to participate in the show. His content and appearances were also removed from CMT and the Country Music Association and Wallen was dropped by his booking agent, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME).
Meanwhile, sales of his latest album, Dangerous: The Double Album, skyrocketed. The project reigns at the top of Billboard’s all-genre albums chart for the fourth consecutive week. According to Billboard the album sold 25,000 copies throughout the week ending on February 4, which is an increase of 102% according to MRC Data. Additionally, the album’s streaming numbers went up 3% and song downloads from the album increased by 67%.
Wallen did specifically share what’s next for him, however, he did say that’s all on his shoulders now.
“The time of my return is solely upon me and the work I put in. I still have a lot of really good people in my corner trying to help me and I appreciate them more than you know. I appreciate you more than you know,” he says. “This entire situation is ugly right now but I’ll keep searching for a way to become an example instead of being made one.”