Disgraced comedian Tracy Morgan is planning to return to the city where he upset gay rights activists with homophobic remarks to speak out in support of homosexuals.
The funnyman caused a storm of protest when he took to the stage at Nashville, Tennessee's Ryman Auditorium for a comedy show on June 3, and made a series of offensive comments about homosexuality, joking that he would "stab" his son if he discovered he was gay.
The story hit the headlines and invoked the wrath of gay rights groups, with a representative for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) urging Morgan to change his act.
The controversy prompted Morgan to respond to critics and express his regret at his choice of material.
In a statement released on Friday, Morgan wrote, "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...This clearly went too far and was not funny in any context."
And, to prove just how remorseful he is, Morgan has agreed to meet with GLAAD officials and personally apologize to the audience members he offended during his Ryman show.
This will take place next week after Morgan meets gay youths who have been hurt or left homeless by parental rejection, at the Ali Forney Center in New York later this week.
In a new statement issued to GLAAD, the "30 Rock" star says, "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."
GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios says, "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."