Country star Morgan Wallen has now released as many high-profile public apologies as he has albums. The artist’s latest controversy stems from video footage published by—who else?—TMZ, in which Wallen, who is white, can be heard using the N-word. Nashville-based Big Loud Records, who released Wallen’s 2018 debut If I Know Me, as well as his chart-topping January 2021 follow-up Dangerous: The Double Album (in partnership with Republic Records), said in a statement Wednesday they’ve suspended the artist’s contract indefinitely in response to his racial slur use.
“I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back,” Wallen told TMZ. “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.”
“In light of Morgan Wallen’s recent actions involving the use of a racial slur, we have made the decision to remove his music and content from our stations effective immediately,” radio giant iHeartMedia told Billboard. His songs have also been removed from prominent country playlists on Spotify and Apple Music, per the AP, and CMT is now “in the process of removing his appearances from all [their] platforms”:
Wallen first came to our attention when he was booked to perform on the Oct. 10, 2020, episode of Saturday Night Live alongside host Bill Burr, a coup for a country musician who seemed to have little name recognition at the time. However, Wallen was dropped from the episode after video surfaced on social media of the musician ignoring COVID-19 protocols by partying without a mask and appearing to kiss a random fan, just days before his SNL set. Wallen was replaced by Jack White for that episode, but would eventually be brought back to perform on the Dec. 12 episode alongside host Timothee Chalamet, because of course that happened. It’s safe to say SNL has done worse, though.
Country stars including Maren Morris, Leah Turner and Lauren Jenkins have condemned Wallen’s actions, as Pop Crave points out: