Morgan Wallen did what everyone expected after footage leaked of him using the “n-word.”
The country crooner apologized. Hard.
“Our actions matter, our words matter and I just wanna encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistake,” Wallen said….
“Obviously, the natural thing to do is to apologize further and just continue to apologize but because you got caught and that’s not what I wanted to do,” Wallen said. “I let so many people down. And [people] who mean a lot to me and give so much to me. And that’s just not fair.”
Wallen didn’t direct the vile word in question at a black person. It was part of a profanity-laced rant, one clearly fired up by alcohol. In sharp contrast, “Seinfeld” alum Michael Richards hurled the same word at black hecklers in 2006, effectively ending his career for a good, long while.
The new cultural rules all but forbid using the word, one with direct ties to this country’s Original Sin, in any context whatsoever now.
The consequences for Wallen were swift and unrelenting. His songs got yanked from a crush of country radio stations, with streaming platforms following suit. The ACM Awards effectively canceled him. His label, Nashville’s Big Loud, nixed his contract. Major audio platforms like Cumulus, iHeartMedia and SiriusXM also yanked his music.
All for one word, an utterance for which he couldn’t have apologize for with any more sorrow or grace. His punishment period is far from over, though.
We just learned the Billboard Music Awards will not let Wallen attend its gala, even though he has six songs up for the group’s honors.
“Morgan Wallen is a finalist this year based on charting,” producers said on Thursday. “As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting).”
Wallen apologized, again, recently on Twitter. He also shared how he won’t be touring this summer as part of his healing process. That should cost him even more, both with fan loyalty and touring receipts.
All for uttering one word, while drunk, and in a private conversation never meant for public consumption. To this reporter’s knowledge there’s no other evidence of Wallen treating people of color poorly. That kind of background would have likely resurfaced following his apology.
Team Billboard says it may allow Wallen to attend the event at some point in the future. Maybe.
“It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work,” producers of the Billboard Music Awards said. “We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.”
How much should Wallen suffer? When will his “Struggle Session” come to an end?
More importantly, what about the other singers who will be attending, performing or accepting awards during the May 23 ceremony?
- Ariana Grande once licked a donut in a bakery shop and uttered, “I hate America.” She later apologized.
- Chris Brown, up for top R&B artist, has a lengthy criminal record including domestic violence, assault and a rape allegation.
- Cardi B, a potential Top Rap Female Artist winner, admitted to drugging and stealing from men in the past.
None of those stars are facing a Billboard punishment of any sort. Wallen is, though, and who knows when he may be allowed to grace a stage with his fellow artists.