Morgan Wallen speaks out after using racist slur, asks fans not to defend him
Country artist Morgan Wallen is again apologizing for getting caught saying the N-word on video.
On Wednesday, Wallen posted a five-minute Instagram video about the situation, which has had far-reaching consequences on his career.
"I'm long overdue to make a statement regarding my last incident. I wanted to collect my thoughts, seek some real guidance and come to you with a complete thought before I did," he said.
The 27-year-old went on to say the video was taken during a "bender," which he said was "not something I'm proud of either."
In the video, which was obtained by TMZ, Wallen and his friends are seen arriving at his house after a night out. After honking horns and talking loudly, they garnered the attention of neighbors, who recorded Wallen using the N-word to describe one of his drunken buddies.
"I let so many people down," Wallen said in the apology video on Wednesday. "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."
The singer then said he's "accepted some invitations from some amazing Black organizations" and hopes to "engage in some very real and honest conversations." Last Thursday, the Nashville branch of the NAACP offered to meet with Wallen to educate him about why the slur is so harmful.
"I'll admit to you I was pretty nervous to accept those invitations," he said. "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 continued, "That kindness really inspired me to dig deeper on how to do something about this. And one thing I've learned already [and] I'm specifically sorry for is that it matters. My words matter. A word can truly hurt a person and at my core, it's not what I'm okay with."
After the video surfaced, Wallen said he's heard "firsthand some personal stories from Black people 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. I came away from those discussions with a deep appreciation for them and a clear 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," he added.
"I've got many more things to learn, but I already know that I don't want to add to any division. 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."
Wallen, who said he's been sober for nine days since the video surfaced, stressed that fans should not defend his actions.
"I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me. But for today, please don't. I was wrong. I fully accept any penalties I'm facing," he said. "This entire situation is ugly right now, but I'll keep searching for ways to become the example instead of being made one."
After the video surfaced, Wallen's record label suspended his contract and the Academy of Country Music deemed the singer ineligible for this year's ACM Awards. iHeartMedia and Entercom also pulled his music from their radio stations, according to Billboard. The outlet also reported that while Wallen's airplay has plummeted, his streams remained steady and his sales have exploded.
Prior to this new statement, Wallen apologized for his words soon after the scandal broke, saying he was "embarrassed and sorry."
"I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back," Wallen said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better."
This isn't Wallen's first controversy. In October, Saturday Night Live dropped him as the musical guest after he was seen in videos partying in large crowds without wearing a mask. In December, he got to debut on SNL after all and mocked himself in a sketch about breaking COVID-19 protocols.