Morgan Wallen Gives First Interview Since Being Filmed Using Racial Slur

Morgan Wallen appeared on Good Morning America on Friday (July 23), marking his first interview since a controversial video surfaced via TMZ earlier this year, which showed Wallen using a racial slur outside of his Nashville home.

Strahan asked Wallen to take him back to the night the footage was captured, Wallen said, “I had some of my longtime friends in town. We had kind of just been partying all weekend and we figured we would just go hard for the two or three days that they were there.”

“How did this happen, out of nowhere? You just refer to someone with a racial slur?” Strahan asked.

“No, I don’t think that it just happened. I was around some of my friends and you know, we say dumb stuff together. In our minds, it’s playful. That sounds ignorant, but that’s really where it came from, and it’s wrong.”

“And had there been no video of the incident, we obviously wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Strahan said. “And this is not the first time you’ve said the word. This is a word you use frequently amongst your friends.”

“Not frequently, no,” Wallen replied. “I wouldn’t say frequently. It was just around this certain group of friends…it was one of my best friends…we were all clearly drunk, and I was asking his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and he was leaving. I didn’t mean it in any derogatory manner at all.”

“What made you think that the word was ever appropriate to use?

“I’m not sure. I think I was just ignorant about it. I don’t think I sat down and was like, ‘Hey is this right and is it wrong?’”

Strahan also asked Wallen if he understood why the racial slur is upsetting for Black people to hear.

“I don’t know how to put myself in their shoes because I’m not” he began, “But I do understand, especially when I say I’m using it playfully or whatever, ignorantly, I understand that that must sound, you know, like, ’He doesn’t — he doesn’t understand.’”

Wallen told GMA he checked himself into a rehab facility, saying, “For 30 days, I spent some time out in San Diego, California — you know, just tryin’ to figure it out … why am I acting this way? Do I have an alcohol problem? Do I have a deeper issue?” he shared.

After the incident, sales of Morgan’s Dangerous: The Double Album spiked, sending the album to the top of the Billboard 200 charts for an astounding 10-week run. And Morgan says that he donated the profits from that spike to several organizations, including BMAC:

“Before this incident my album was already doing well,” Wallen said. “It was already being well-received by critics and by fans. Me and my team noticed that whenever this whole incident happened that there was a spike in my sales. So we tried to calculate what the number of — how much it actually spiked from this incident,” adding, “We got to a number somewhere around $500,000, and we decided to donate that money to some organizations — BMAC being the first one,” he continued.

Wallen said he also understands that many will be skeptical following his interview.

“I’m not ever gonna make, you know, everyone happy,” he said. “I can only come tell my truth, and — and that’s all I know to do.”

Strahan also asked Wallen if he feels the country music industry has issues surrounding race. Wallen said, “it would seem that way, yeah,” before adding, “I haven’t really sat and thought about that.”