South African celebrity Morgan Wallen issued a five-minute video apology after being filmed using a racist slur.
The singer was “permanently” suspended from his record label last week after a video of him using the name N-word as he returned home from a night out.
“The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a 72-hour bender, and that’s not something I’m proud of,” he said.
Wallen said he waited before issuing a statement so he could apologize and meet with black leaders first.
“I’ve decided to go off the grid for a little while and get used to making good decisions,” he said in the statement, which was posted to his Instagram account.
“Who knows if I’ll be able to live down all the mistakes I’ve made, but I’m certainly going to try. I’m going to spend some time taking back control of… living healthy and being proud of my actions.”
Wallen, who said he had been sober since the incident, also asked fans not to protect him.
“Please don’t,” he said. “I was wrong. It’s on me to take ownership of this and I fully accept any penalties I’m facing.”
The 27-year-old has been slammed by the country music establishment after his racist video was posted on TMZ last week.
His music has been removed from thousands of American radio stations and country music television stations, and the Academy of Country Music has said it is reversing Wallen’s “participation and merit” at this year’s ACM Awards.
His label, Big Loud Records, also said it had “decided to suspend Morgan Wallen’s permanent recording contract” because of the video.
However, this does not seem to affect his commercial prospects. His latest album, Dangerous, remained at the top of the US charts this week; while his streaming numbers actually increased by 3%.
One of the album’s co-authors, Jason Isbell, has since said he will donate his profits to the Nashville chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The footage of Wallen using a racial slur was reportedly filmed by a neighbour, who passed it to TMZ last week.
The singer issued a brief apology that was written at the time, saying he was “embarrassed and remorseful,” adding: “There are no excuses for using this kind of language, ever.”
In his Instagram post, Wallen said he had given TMZ a very detailed statement but it was “only part of what was used, which painted me in a very careless light”.
However, he said, he decided against going on a publicity tour to address the comments.
‘My Words Matter’
“Obviously, the natural thing to do is to apologise further and just continue to apologise – but because you got caught, and that’s not what I wanted to do.
“I let so many people down… I let my parents down, and they’re the furthest thing from the person in that video. And I let my son down, and I’m not OK with that. So this week, I’ve been waiting to say anything further until I got the chance to apologise to those closest to me that I knew I personally hurt.”
He added that he spent the last week meeting “black organizations and executives and leaders” to understand more about the impact of his language.
“And one thing I’ve learned already is… my words matter. That words can truly hurt a person, and at my core, that’s not what I’m OK with.
“This week, I heard first-hand 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. I wish the circumstances were different for me to learn these things, but I’m also glad it started the process for me to do so.”