Tina Fey has defended Tracy Morgan after he caused controversy with a series of gay jokes in his stand-up show, insisting her "30 Rock" co-star is not a "hateful man."
The comedian took to the stage at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, for a comedy show on June 3, but the fun ended when Morgan made a series of offensive comments about homosexuality, telling the crowd he would "stab" his son if he was gay.
Morgan issued an apology after the story hit the headlines and invoked the wrath of gay rights groups, stating: "I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I'm not a hateful person and don't condone any kind of violence against others... Even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context."
Fey has now waded into the controversy, admitting she was stunned by Morgan's comments because they don't reflect his true character.
A statement from the actress reads, "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 (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) Community.
"(The rant) doesn't line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centred to ever hurt another person."
The funny lady also hopes Morgan will be forgiven for the incident, adding, "I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian co-workers on 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 pay cheque from accounting to put in his pocket."