When I hear about things like this, I get this...squeamish feeling. I'm a true proponent of free speech AND against gay defamation. I'm also an ex-girlfriend of a stand up comic.
Morgan told an audience that if his son was gay he would pull out a knife and kill him. Not sure where the joke is since I only have that statement. But if that was a part of his bit then it really is no different than any other harmful, hateful, ill-thought out, commentary ridden, racist, bigoted, STUPID, comment that any stand-up comic can make.
And it all falls under freedom of speech/ expression.
However,when I was a kid, my favorite Aunt came to live with us for a while. Her name was Margot and she was 17 or 18. Margot was also born a man. I was five or six years old and would watch Margot put on makeup and transform from an awkward teenage boy into a gorgeous woman, and due to hormone injections and silicone shots, she was a very beautiful woman.
I did ask Margot why she dressed like a lady and she seemed surprised and tired all at once. She explained that she WAS a woman but it all got mixed up on the outside. I understood it perfectly. And there was born my acceptance of gays and probably my liberalism.
Several years later she would be murdered. I am not sure if she was murdered due to the fact that she was gay or not because the murderer was never found. As a matter of fact the police indicated that there would not be an investigation because it was probably some drug related murder. It was explained to us that's what usually happens when there is a violent death in the gay community.
What that really means is, 'Sorry for your luck, gays get picked on all the time, sometimes they die, how would we find the killer?'
Well, I just think that if society didn't think it was okay to de-humanize gays then maybe her death would have been treated like any other murder and investigated. Thankfully, that was several long years ago and times are changing. Homosexuality is much more acceptable. Kids are able to come out now while still in High School! Both my son and daughter have close friends that are gay and they don't even think about it!
On the other hand...Tracy Morgan is (I'm told) a comic. I'm not sure of this since his style causes me to cringe and I turn away anytime I see him. This is a practice that I would genuinely encourage others to engage in. It's so much better than trying to attempt to take away a person's human rights. Also, I'm not saying boycott him because he made a gay statement, either. I'm saying don't watch him because he sucks.
After having said all of that--I used to date a stand up comic. He talked about gays too. His nickname was the 'angry' comic so you can imagine some of the shit he'd say. He's a white guy that sometimes played in all-black clubs. And he would pull out his black jokes. I would tell him not to do a certain joke based on the crowd and he'd say he's doing it AND he'd kill!!! People ate that shit up! Mostly because he was...um FUNNY!
But I can't imagine him apologizing to anyone based on his act. In fact the only time he ever gave even a half-way apology is when he invited me to see one of his shows after we had just recently broke up. THEN when we get to the studio (because it was televised) he apologizes and says part of this act is about relationships. I'm thinking, payback for breaking up with him; this is going to f***king hurt. He didn't gouge me too bad, just talked about being DUMPED right before valentines day and how bad that sucked.
So, my position is this...Tracy Morgan can say whatever the hell he wants because--IT'S TRACY MORGAN! WHO REALLY CARES???
But when it comes to human rights there is also a fallout. I had it hit home with me several years ago when the Maplethorpe exhibit was banned from Cincinnati. I was one of the first people to talk about his rights to express his art...until it was finally allowed to be displayed and I saw with my own eyes. Then and there I decided to never fight for something that I hadn't educated myself about. I realized that I had just been fighting for the rights of a man to have a huge photograph of a little five year old girl, sitting on the stairs, holding a doll with her legs splayed open, and the focal point of the shot being her naked vagina.
There are no absolutes.