Roughly 72 hours before he was set to take the stage at Saturday Night Live, Morgan Wallen has been pulled from the weekly show after videos surfaced of the country star partying and mingling with fans without wearing a mask or practicing social distancing while attending the University of Alabama football game on Oct. 3.
An emotional Wallen posted a two-and-a-half-minute video via Instagram on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 7) saying SNL had yanked him from the lineup. He was already in New York in preparation. “I got a call from the show letting me know that I will no longer be able to play and that’s because of COVID protocols, which I understand,” he said.
Wallen added that he was not positive for COVID, “but my actions this past weekend were pretty short-sighted and they have obviously affected my long-term goals and my dreams.” He apologized, adding he has some growing up to do and he intends to take some time to work on himself.
The TikTok videos that emerged over the last few days appear to show the 27-year-old East Tennessee native drinking and kissing women in a packed room where few, if any, people are wearing masks. Wallen posted a photo to his Instagram from the skybox at Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Wallen’s statement leaves unclear if he has also pulled out of the Rome River Jam in Rome, Ga., where he is still slated to headline the Friday night segment of the Oct. 9-10 festival.
The Jam, which is one of the biggest live country events to take place since COVID-19 shut down the touring industry, is sold out, with 5,100 people attending each night. Patrons at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds site will be in individual, socially distanced, open-air pods holding six people each. All patrons must wear masks and receive an entry and exit time.
Wallen is the biggest artist on the bill, which also includes HARDY and Ashland Craft on Oct. 9 and Riley Green, Jon Langston and Hunter Chastain on Oct. 10. No word on if fans, who paid up to $420 for tickets for both nights, are able to receive refunds. The same lineup is slated to play a similar festival put on by the same promoter in Charleston, S.C.., Oct. 30-31.
A representative for Saturday Night Live did not respond to request for comment, nor did representatives for Wallen or the Rome River Jam.