Tracy Morgan's 30 Rock costar, Tina Fey, is coming to her friend's defense after Morgan apologized for violent, anti-gay jokes he made during a stand-up routine in Nashville on June 3.
Telling TMZ she is glad Morgan apologized, Fey, 41, says she was deeply disturbed by his rant, and his words are not indicative of the Morgan she knows.
"The violent imagery of Tracy's rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community," Fey told the site Friday night, hours after Morgan, 42, offered a public apology saying he "clearly went too far."
During his bit, Morgan joked that he'd stab his son if he ever said he was gay.
Morgan's hate-filled speech "doesn't line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person," says Fey.
"I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket," Fey's statement to TMZ continued.
In his public apology, issued to Us Weekly Friday, Morgan said, "I'm not a hateful person and don't condone any kind of violence against others…even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context."
But many groups charge that Morgan's apology isn't enough. Says Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG Nation: "At a time when bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth is at an all-time high – when kids are being assaulted, are dying – to joke about committing violence against a child is outrageous and reprehensible. As a celebrity, Mr. Morgan needs to understand that his words have power."