The country musician was suspended by his label, Big Loud Records, and dropped by radio and streaming platforms in February after TMZ published footage of him using the N-word while addressing a friend outside of his Nashville home.
Days later, Wallen, 28, apologized for the incident in a video posted to his social media platforms. The ensuing fallout, however, did little to deter his fans. According to Rolling Stone, the artist saw a 1,220% increase in digital album sales and a 327% increase in song sales almost immediately afterward.
In an interview with “Good Morning America” that aired Friday, Wallen said he hasn’t “really sat and thought” about whether his use of the offensive term was indicative of a race problem in country music, as some have suggested. As for the incident itself, he claimed that it took place during a weekend binge with friends.
“I was around some of my friends, and we just say dumb stuff together,” Wallen said. “In our minds, it’s playful. It sounds ignorant but that’s really where it came from, and it’s wrong.”
“It’s one of my best friends [and] we were all clearly drunk,” he continued. “I was asking his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and he was leaving. I didn’t mean it in any derogatory manner at all.”
Watch Morgan Wallen’s full “Good Morning America” interview below.
When host Michael Strahan asked why he felt the N-word was “appropriate” to use in any situation, Wallen said he was simply “ignorant about it.”
“I don’t think I ever sat down and thought, ‘Hey, is this right or wrong?’” he said. “I haven’t seen that with my eyes, that pain or that insignificant feeling or whatever it is that it makes you feel.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Wallen said he’s taken a series of steps in the months since the video surfaced to change his behavior moving forward, which included meeting with officials from Black organizations and checking himself into a 30-day rehab program in California.
As to whether or not fans angered by his actions would accept his apology, Wallen said, “I’m not ever going to make everyone happy.”
“I can only come tell my truth,” he added, “and that’s all I know to do.”