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Add Tracy Morgan’s name to the growing list of performers who refuse to perform in states passing anti-LGBT legislation.
The comedian and former 30 Rock star was scheduled to perform in Tunica, Miss., but on Tuesday issued a statement announcing that the performance has been called off over the state’s Religious Accommodations Act, which grants businesses the right to refuse services to LGBT customers.
“Tracy did not make this decision lightly,” reads an official statement. “He very much looks forward to rescheduling his tour dates in the area after the ‘Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act’ is either repealed or heavily amended.”
Major music acts like Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Pearl Jam have previously canceled gigs in North Carolina over that state’s new bathroom law, decried as transphobic by LGBT rights groups. And Bryan Adams canceled a show in Biloxi, Miss., saying he could not “in good conscience” perform there while its citizens there are “being denied their civil rights due to their sexual orientation.”
The move is particularly significant on Morgan’s part in light of a 2011 controversy that erupted after a performance in Nashville, Tenn. Morgan drew widespread criticism over a stand-up comedy routine in which he said that, were he to have a gay son, he would “pull out a knife and stab him,” among other anti-gay jokes.
The remarks drew a strong rebuke from NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt as well as 30 Rock creator Tina Fey, who called “the violent imagery of Tracey’s rant … disturbing.” An apology tour followed, during which Morgan met with the audience member who initially complained about the routine on his Facebook page.
“I didn’t mean it. I don’t have a hateful bone in my body,” Morgan said at a GLAAD press conference at the time. “I don’t believe that anyone should be bullied or just made to feel bad about who they are. I totally feel that, in my heart, I really don’t care who you love, same-sex or not, as long as you have the ability to love.”
The move comes ahead of an invite-only meeting at CAA partner Bryan Lourd’s home to discuss what Hollywood influencers can do to push back on a flurry of anti-LGBT legislation in the South.
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