Music

Darius Rucker Says It’s Time To Forgive Morgan Wallen For Using N-Word: ‘[He’s] Tried to Really Better Himself’

Darius Rucker thinks it’s time for fans and critics to forgive Morgan Wallen for his use of a racist slur. In an interview with Rolling Stone‘s Music Now podcast, the Hootie and the Blowfish singer and solo star said three years after Wallen was caught in a video repeatedly using the N-word the 31-year-old “Last Night” singer is a different person.

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“I think Morgan’s become a better person since that,” Rucker told RS. “I’ve known Morgan a long time. Since all that happened Morgan’s tried to really better himself and become a better person and see the world in a much better, better was.”

In a February 2021 video, Wallen was caught yelling the N-word and other expletives while arriving home with some friends. At the time, Wallen apologized, telling TMZ, “I’m embarrassed and sorry. 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.”

Though Wallen’s career eventually continued apace, even picking up steam, the immediate fallout included his music briefly being pulled from streaming and radio, a suspension from his label and getting dropped by his booking agent, as well as the Academy of Country Music deeming him ineligible for the 56th annual awards.

By the end of that year, though, Wallen’s catalog had racked up more than $8 million in revenue as U.S. sales skyrocketed, he broke a series of records on the Billboard charts, hit the road again and watched his radio airplay more than double. His Dangerous album went on to win album of the year at the 2022 ACM Awards and Wallen collected 11 trophies at the 2023 Billboard Music Awards

Despite that bounce back, Rucker told RS that it feels like Wallen is still living under the cloud of his racist incident. “You know, he’s not forgiven. He’s still not out for CMAs and ACMs,” Rucker said. “They can say what they want, but the fact that Morgan Wallen is not up for entertainer of the year and those things is crazy. No one’s selling more tickets than Morgan.”

Despite the cold shoulder Rucker said Wallen is still getting, the singer has continued to crank out hits, including his No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 smash “I Had Some Help” with Post Malone. The singer once again courted controversy recently, though, again apologizing to fans in April after he was arrested for allegedly throwing a chair off the roof of a Nashville bar. Wallen was arrested and briefly jailed on April 8 after police said he tossed a chair from the sixth-floor roof of Eric Church’s then-new bar Chief’s, with the seat reportedly landing just a few feet away from two Metro Nashville police officers. Wallen was arrested and charged with three felony counts of reckless endangerment and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

He later posted a tweet apologizing for the incident, revealing that he’d reached out to Nashville police, his family and the Chief’s crew to make amends. “I’m not proud of my behavior, and I accept responsibility…. I have the utmost respect for the officers working every day to keep us all safe,” he said at the time.

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