I’m currently producing a movie, Predisposed, that stars Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo and Tracy Morgan. I’m on the set with Tracy every day. I can’t speak to Tracy’s beliefs, or the outrageous things that comics sometimes say in order to shock people, but I know that Tracy treats everyone on our diverse crew with remarkable respect. Our crew contains a higher than average number of minority members, including several proud, out gay people, and Tracy interacts with everyone in the same gracious, generous, loving way.
I’m struggling to understand the disparity between Tracy’s behavior on our set and the things he said on stage. I certainly can’t dismiss nor diminish the pain his statements have caused. And I can’t speak for him nor try to guess what he truly thinks about anything.
But it seems to me that Tracy — who makes his living in the world of outrageous stand up comedy - has channeled the anti-gay anger in our culture and is holding it up for us to examine. The things he said are merely more outrageous versions of homophobic beliefs that all of us live with — and silently accept — every day.
…Yesterday, on the set of our movie, I sat in a minivan with Tracy Morgan, who wept as he told me about his violent childhood. I cannot understand the brutality of dire poverty or the soul-killing experience of growing up black in racist America. And Tracy cannot understand the pain of a gay child raised in homophobic America, under the constant barrage of taunts, threats of violence, and the ever-present fear of being exposed and rejected. His pain is not mine and mine is not his. Neither of us reached adulthood unscathed by the shared prejudices of our culture. We’ve arrived at manhood slightly distorted, wounded and limited by our battles. We have been hurt. We make mistakes. But our mistakes are made in a cultural context. Yesterday, while the world Tweeted away, issuing accusations and condemnations, a black, straight comic and a white, gay writer sat in a minivan, crying and trying to understand.” —Producer and Philadelphia screenwriter RON NYSWANER, writing on the Tracy Morgan incident in The Huffington Post (via inothernews)