Country music star Morgan Wallen said his use of a racist slur was “playful” but he now knows it was wrong.
The Tennessee-born singer, 28, had the number one album in the US when footage emerged in February of him using offensive language.
He faced a backlash from the country music industry, including being barred from awards shows and having his songs removed from streaming service playlists.
.@MichaelStrahan: “I’ve been called it…do you understand why it makes Black people so upset?”
Country music star Morgan Wallen sits down with @GMA for his first interview since he was caught on tape using a racial slur.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 23, 2021
Wallen gave his first interview since the scandal to Good Morning America and said he had been partying with friends when he used the N-word.
“I was around some of my friends, and we just, we say dumb stuff together,” he told host Michael Strahan.
“And it was, in our minds, it’s playful. That sounds ignorant, but it – that’s really where it came from, and it’s wrong.”
Wallen, whose songs include Whiskey Glasses, 7 Summers and Sand In My Boots, told GMA he did not use the slur “frequently” but admitted he had uttered it previously around a “certain group of friends”.
Wallen said he did not mean to use the offending word “in any derogatory manner at all”.
The clip was taken in January and published by TMZ the following month.
He said: “It’s one of my best friends, he was, we were all clearly drunk, I was asking his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and he was leaving.”
Wallen added: “I think I was just ignorant about it. I don’t think I sat down and was, like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?'”
He later sat down with black-led organisations to learn about the history of the slur.
Wallen said he had checked into a rehab facility in San Diego, California for 30 days and donated about 500,000 US dollars (£364,000) to groups including the Black Music Action Coalition.