In the past week, Morgan Wallen has faced suspension from his label, removal from radio stations, and disqualification from awards shows after he was recently caught on tape saying the n-word outside his home in Nashville. The country star posted a new apology video today asking fans not to defend his actions.

“There’s no reason to downplay what I did… I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me, but for today, please don’t,” he said. “I was wrong. It’s on me. I take ownership for this. And I fully accept any penalties I’m facing. The timing of my return is solely upon me and the work I put in.”

Wallen noted that he waited a few days to make a lengthier public statement until he made amends with the people in his life.

“I’ve been waiting to say anything further until I got the chance to apologize to those closest to me that I knew I personally hurt,” he said. “One thing I’ve learned already is, that I’m specifically sorry for, is that it matters. My words matter. A word can truly hurt a person, and at my core, that’s not what I’m okay with.”

Wallen noted that the video was filmed on “hour 72 of 72 of a bender,” and reflected on how things came to pass. “When I look at the times that I’m not [sober], it seems to be where the majority of my mistakes are made,” he said. “I’ve also accepted some invitations from some amazing Black organizations… to engage in some very real and honest conversations.”

The country singer’s apology comes after swift fallout from the video first posted to TMZ. The incident sparked a larger discussion about racism in the country music industry, with artists like Maren Morris and Mickey Guyton weighing in. Black country star Jimmie Allen responded to Wallen’s post, writing, “can’t wait for the world to see your heart. We ALL mess up and we all deserve redemption.”

Although Wallen’s music was removed from most radio stations and awards consideration, Billboardundefined reported that it didn’t have much of an effect on streaming and actually resulted in a sales boost for his latest release, Dangerous: The Double Album. As Genius has previously reported, even negative headlines can lead to increased commercial activity on an artist’s music, with the overall conversation driving broader interest.

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