NASHVILLE — Country star Morgan Wallen asked fans not to downplay the racist language he was caught saying on camera and said that he accepted the punishments he faced.
TMZ posted a video last week of Wallen saying a racial slur and Wallen apologized at the time. Wallen posted a five-minute Instagram video Wednesday night saying he had let so many people down, including his parents and his son.
“Our actions matter. Our words matter. And I want to encourage anyone that is watching to please learn from my mistake. There’s no reason to downplay what I did,” he said.
He said he was waiting until he could personally apologize to people he had hurt. He said that the video was taken after a three-day “bender," but he has since gotten sober.
Wallen said that he accepted invitations from Black organizations, executives and leaders to have honest conversations.
“They offered me grace and they also paired that with an offer to learn and to grow," he said.
Wallen also said he accepted any punishments that he faced. Wallen's songs were removed from radio stations, streaming services took his music off their top playlists and his record label suspended him.
But many of his fans responded to the backlash by buying up more of his records and continued to stream him.
In response to the surging sales, Grammy-winning singer songwriter Jason Isbell announced that he was going to donate money that he makes from Wallen's cover of his song “Cover Me Up” to the NAACP.
Wallen included a cover of the song on his sophomore record, “Dangerous: The Double Album.”
“I’ve decided to donate everything I’ve made so far from this album to the Nashville chapter of the @NAACP. Thanks for helping out a good cause, folks,” Isbell, a popular Americana artist and former member of the Drive-By Truckers, wrote on Twitter earlier Wednesday.
Wallen had been performing a cover version of “Cover Me Up” for a while before he recorded his own version, which leapt to the Top 15 on the Hot Country Songs chart and earned platinum status by the Recording Industry Association of America.
His album was already setting streaming records prior to TMZ's release of the video of him using the slur. It is the first country album to spend four weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart since 2003, when Shania Twain’s album “Up!” spent five weeks at the top.
Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press