Saturday Night Live showrunner Lorne Michaels has spoken out after the show canceled Morgan Wallen's scheduled performance during the Oct. 10 episode, appearing on the Today show in an interview with Willie Geist. Michaels called Wallen to tell him that he would not perform on the show after the country star was seen out at various bars near the University of Alabama last weekend, with several viral videos showing him not wearing a mask.
"He probably isn't the first country singer, the first person from rock and roll who partied after a big, in that case, a football game, or a concert," Michaels told Geist. "We're just living in a different time, and everything is scrutinized." Michaels also shared that rocker Jack White will replace Wallen.
On Wednesday, Wallen shared a video message on Instagram, revealing that he had been removed from this weekend's show. "I was getting ready for SNL this Saturday when I got a call from the show letting me know that I will no longer be able to play. And that's because of COVID protocols, which I understand." He shared that he has not tested positive for COVID-19, but "My actions this past weekend were pretty short-sighted and they have obviously affected my long-term goals and my dreams. I respect the show's decision because I know that I put them in jeopardy, and I take ownership for this."
The 27-year-old apologized for his actions and pledged to take time to reflect. "I'd like to apologize to SNL, to my fans, to my team for bringing me these opportunities, and I let them down," he said. "And, on a more personal note, I think I have some growing up to do. You know, I think I've lost myself a little bit. I've tried to find joy in the wrong places, and, I don't know; it's left me with less joy. So I'm going to go try to work on that."
Wallen added that Michaels gave him "a lot of encouragement" by letting him know that he would be invited back to perform on the show at a later date. "I'm going to take a step back from the spotlight for a little while and go work on myself," he said. "I wish I could have made country music and my fans proud this Saturday, but I respect the decision once again."
The Tennessee native also noted that he is "taking some heat" but let fans know that their "messages of encouragement haven't gone unnoticed." "It may be a second before you hear from me for a while, but I'm going to go work on me and I appreciate y'all respecting that," he concluded. "I'll talk to you soon."