Country singer Morgan Wallen gave his first interview since N-word controversy and says he still ‘isn’t sure’ why he said the racial slur

Morgan wallen cmas 2020
Morgan Wallen in 2020. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMA
  • Country singer Morgan Wallen reflected on his use of a racial slur in leaked video footage.
  • “I think I was just ignorant about it,” Wallen said in a new interview for “Good Morning America.”
  • He also said that his use of the word wasn’t meant “in any derogatory manner at all.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Morgan Wallen reflected on his use of a racial slur in leaked video footage during a new interview with Michael Strahan on “Good Morning America.”

Footage leaked by TMZ in early February showed Wallen and a group of friends yelling in the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, after a night out. Wallen can be heard on the video calling his friend a “motherf—er” and then referring to the man using the N-word.

“I was around some of my friends, and we just… we say dumb stuff together,” Wallen told Strahan in his first full sit-down interview since the video surfaced. “And it was – in our minds, it’s playful.”

The singer said that it was still “wrong” of him to use the word, but that he “didn’t mean it any, in any derogatory manner at all.”

Wallen also revealed that he still was “not sure” what made him say the word that night.

“I think I was just ignorant about it,” he told Strahan. “I don’t think I sat down and was, like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?'”

The former contestant on “The Voice” also opened up about getting dropped from his record label and talent agency and being disqualified from country music award shows following the incident.

Following the backlash after the video was leaked in February, Wallen issued a statement about his behavior.

“I’m embarrassed and sorry,” Wallen told TMZ at the time. “I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. 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.”

Wallen’s use of the racial slur caused fellow country music stars like Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris to publicly condemn him and his actions.

But many of the singer’s fans rushed to buy his music following the controversy – leading to a 339% bump in sales for Wallen.

Shortly thereafter, Wallen posted a video apologizing for the incident and urging his fans to let him face the repercussions.

“The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a 72-hour bender, and that’s not something I’m proud of either,” Wallen said in the apology video.

He added: “This week, I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me. I came away from those discussions with a deep appreciation for them and a clearer understanding of the weight of my words.”

Wallen ended the video by saying he was nine days sober and by asking fans not to defend his actions.

“I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me,” he said. “But for today, please don’t. I was wrong. It’s on me. I take ownership for this, and I fully accept any penalties I’m facing.”