SNL comic Tracy Morgan cancels Mississippi shows ‘until anti-gay law is repealed’

Saturday Night Live comic Tracy Morgan – who previously came under fire himself for homophobic jokes – has cancelled a planned performance in Mississippi over the state’s anti-LGBT law.

The Governor of Mississippi Phil Bryant signed a new law earlier this month that enables discrimination against LGBT people – ignoring pleas from business leaders in the state.

The law goes even further than most – even permitting people to discriminate based on sexual orientation in “any employment-related decision” and “any decision concerning the sale, rental, [or] occupancy of a dwelling” as long as it’s based on “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction”.

Amid a large-scale boycott of the state by the entertainment industry, comedian Tracy Morgan has pulled the plug on a planned show in Tunica.

A spokesperson said: “Tracy did not make this decision lightly.

“He very much looks forward to rescheduling his tour dates in the area after the ‘Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act’ is either repealed or heavily amended.”

The stance is a turn-around given the comic has himself found himself under fire for homophobic routines.

In 2011, the comedian’s routine included an anti-gay tirade in which he insisted that if his son came out, he would “pull out a knife and stab that little [slur] to death.”

After criticism he pulled the material from his show and has repeatedly apologised for the rant, saying: “I want to apologise to my friends, and my family and my fans and everyone in every community who were offended with this. I don’t have a hateful bone in my body.”

Last year he complained that people kept bringing up the issue.

He said:  “I don’t know why people are trying to surround my career with that. I agree with you man. No issues here. If you love me I love you back. I’ve got love for everybody.”

Action on the law may not come any time soon, however. The Governor of Mississippi has claimed that without the law in place, churches would be forced to close.