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ShowBiz Minute: Wallen, Earthshot Prize, ‘Sesame Street’
Morgan Wallen dropped as “SNL” performer after breaking COVID rules; Prince William, David Attenborough launch Earthshot Prize; “Sesame Street” tackles racism in TV special. (Oct. 8)
The 27-year-old revealed that he will no longer be featured as this week’s musical guest on the NBC show after facing criticism for partying with fans last weekend – without a face covering – in multiple videos posted to social media platform TikTok.
“I’m in New York City in a hotel room. I was getting ready for “SNL” (on) Saturday and I got a call from the show letting me know that I will no longer be able to play,” he revealed during an Instagram video Wednesday. “That’s because of COVID protocols. Which I understand.”
Although he is “not positive for COVID,” Wallen said he “respects the show’s decision” because understands that he put those involved “in jeopardy.”
USA TODAY reached out to “SNL” and Wallen’s representatives for comment.
Wallen, a East Tennessee native, attended an Alabama Crimson Tide football game last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, per his Instagram feed. Multiple videos posted to TikTok show the singer posing maskless for photos, kissing women and playing guitar in a close circle of onlookers.
‘SNL’ COVID-19 plan? $150 checks for audience members to meet New York restrictions
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A post shared by Morgan Wallen (@morganwallen) on Oct 7, 2020 at 3:06pm PDT
“I’d like to apologize to ‘SNL,’ to my fans, to my team for bringing me these opportunities and I let them down,” he continued, adding that he takes “ownership” of his actions.
Wallen announced that he will be “taking a step back from the spotlight” to “go work on myself.” He added, “I think I have some growing up to do.”
Despite the setback, Wallen said “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels shared some encouraging words by “letting me know that we will find another time to make this up.”
“SNL” had its season premiere last Saturday, and has returned to its Manhattan studio under strict safety precautions. Performers, staff and audience members must undergo rapid COVID-19 testing, and all non-performers must wear masks at all times.
Photos shared by the program last week showed its cast and crew reading scripts while spread six feet apart across the main studio space.
Saturday’s show would have marked Wallen’s first time on “SNL,” and he would have been among a small group of country artists who’ve performed on the show in the past five years, including Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton, Kacey Musgraves and Sturgill Simpson.
Wallen’s career has continued to gain momentum in 2020. He released the song “7 Summers” after an early version took off on TikTok.
The track was an instant crossover hit, cracking the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and topping the Hot Country Songs chart.
Last May, Wallen was arrested outside of Kid Rock’s downtown Nashville bar and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct.