One of Morgan Wallen's country music heroes is finally addressing the singer's racial slur controversy.
In February, TMZ posted a video that showed Morgan, 27, saying the N-word and other expletives while returning from a night out with friends in Nashville. Now, in an interview with Billboard, posted on Thursday, April 1, Eric Church was asked about Morgan's behavior in the video.
"That was indefensible," the 43-year-old musician said. "I was heartbroken when it happened. I think Morgan's trying to work on that and on himself. And I hope he does."
Billboard reported that Eric, who Morgan has dubbed one of his musical heroes and who co-wrote the track "Quittin' Time" on his hit new album Dangerous: The Double Album, sent the fellow country star a note telling him he was praying for him and to keep "hanging in there."
Soon following an online backlash, Morgan apologized in a statement and again in a video message on Instagram, saying that the TMZ footage of him was filmed at the end of a 72-hour bender and that he has since been sober for nine days.
"I take ownership for this," he said about his behavior. "And I fully accept any penalties I'm facing. The timing of my return is solely upon me and the work I put in."
Eric joins fellow country stars Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini in publicly speaking out against Morgan's behavior, which spurred the younger star's record label and booking agent to drop him, Spotify, Apple and major radio companies to remove Morgan from their playlists, CMT to drop his appearances from its platforms and the Academy of Country Music to deem him ineligible for an ACM Award.
Despite this, many of Morgan's music streams and record sales have surged. Dangerous: The Double Album topped Billboard's Top Country Albums chart for the 11th consecutive week and only recently fell to No. 3 on Billboard's 200 Albums Chart after a record-breaking 10 week reign at No. 1, having been dethroned by Justin Bieber's Justice.