"SNL" Cancels Country Star's Debut for Breaking COVID Rules
The musician says he intends to "take a step back" while he works through personal issues.
Country music star Morgan Wallen, who was slated to perform as the musical guest on the Oct. 10 episode of SNL, will no longer be gracing the stage of Studio 8H. The 27-year-old "Whiskey Glasses" singer confirmed via Instagram that he had been removed from Saturday's show, scheduled to be hosted by comedian Bill Burr, after a series of videos were posted online showing him maskless in an Alabama bar kissing multiple women the weekend prior.
"I got a call from the show letting me know I would no longer be able to play, and that's because of COVID protocols, which I understand," Wallen said in an Instagram video posted on Oct. 7.
SNL co-creator and producer Lorne Michaels has been vocal about protecting both the show's performers and audience, telling The New York Times last month, "I take my responsibility for people's health and lives very seriously." He said that passing through heat sensors and taking rapid COVID tests were now required to get into the building where SNL is filmed.
While Wallen said he did not test positive for coronavirus, he called his actions "short-sighted," stating "they've obviously affected my long-term goals and dreams."
"I respect the show's decision because I know that I put them in jeopardy. I take ownership for this," Wallen said.
He apologized to SNL, his fans, and his team, admitting that he "let 'em down" with his actions, and saying he would take time to reflect on his behavior. "I'm going to take a step back from the spotlight for a little while and go work on myself," he explained.
Though Wallen may have missed out on a major opportunity, he noted that he hoped he could return to SNL's famed stage in the near future. "Lorne Michaels gave me a lot of encouragement by letting me know that we'll find another time to make this up, so that means a lot to me," he said.
While Wallen's actions may not have made him persona non grata at SNL forever, the same can't be said for every star who's behaved badly. Read on to discover which celebrities have been banned from SNL. And for more celebrities accused of bad behavior, these "90210" Stars Respond to Jessica Alba's Claim About How They Treated Her.
Oscar winner Adrien Brody allegedly earned himself a ban from the SNL stage following an ill-fated hosting gig in May 2003. While introducing the show's musical guest, Sean Paul, Brody ad-libbed in a vaguely Jamaican accent while wearing a dreadlock wig and Jamaican flag sweatband on his wrist in a move many decried as racist. Though Brody has never officially confirmed his ban, he's never returned to SNL. And for more co-star drama, check out these 11 Beloved Movie Couples Who Clashed Behind the Scenes.
Comedian Martin Lawrence hosted SNL in 1994, a gig that reportedly earned him a lifetime ban from the show.
In his introductory monologue, Lawrence began a vulgar rant about women's personal hygiene practices, telling women everywhere, "You got to wash properly," among some more colorful—and offensive—instructions.
However, while Lawrence's ban from the show has been widely reported, the comedian denied that he wasn't allowed back in a 2020 interview with the radio show The Breakfast Club. "I'm not banned from SNL. They banned me from NBC at the time for a minute," he explained. "But then they realized the way it went down wasn't what they thought and then they sent me an apology letter."
Steven Seagal's performance as a host on SNL in 1991 was bad enough to ensure he was never invited back to the show again. According to an Aug. 5 episode of the Literally! with Rob Lowe podcast, former SNL cast member David Spade confirmed that Seagal was a difficult guest to work with.
"If you make fun of yourself, it will benefit you, and we promise you [that]," said Spade, confirming that Seagal took himself too seriously and "[wouldn't] play at all." Lorne Michaels seemed to confirm his disdain for Seagal during a Nicolas Cage-hosted show in 1992. During his monologue, the National Treasure star claimed that the audience probably thought he was "the biggest jerk who's ever been on the show," to which Michaels replied, "No, no. That would be Steven Seagal." And for more great entertainment stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
In what's since become one of the show's most infamous moments, singer Sinead O'Connor ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a cover of Bob Marley's "War" on SNL in 1992. The decision to do so allegedly got her a lifetime ban from the set.
"I thought they wouldn't let me if I asked them," O'Connor said of her reasoning behind the improvised stunt in an interview with The Day After that same year. Regarding the repercussions of her performance, O'Connor said, "There was a deathly silence for about half an hour… The doors were all closed [and] they were all screaming at my manager." And for more insight into your favorite musical acts, discover these 17 Hits Popular Musicians Hate Playing Live.
The members of punk band Fear earned themselves a lifetime ban from SNL after insulting the audience and trashing the set during their performance on the show in 1981.
The band, which was rumored to have been brought on at cast member John Belushi's behest, told the New York-based audience, "It's great to be in New Jersey," and subsequently said, "New York sucks," as well as allegedly causing as much as $200,000 in damages to the set and equipment.
Fear frontman Lee Ving confirmed in a 2015 interview that, following the performance, he was told, "They'll never be shown on Saturday Night Live again." And for more careers that were nearly cut short, check out these Huge Stars Who Almost Quit Hollywood.
Actor Louise Lasser, best known for her role as the lead on soap opera satire Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman in the '70s, was reportedly the first person to be banned from SNL. According to Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, Lasser "rambled incoherently" during meetings, "refused to do pieces that had been written for her," and locked herself in her dressing room moments before she was supposed to appear on stage, leading to a reported lifetime ban from the show.
Rap group Cypress Hill was banned from the SNL set following their performance as musical guest during an Oct. 2, 1993 episode. In a 2014 interview with The Village Voice, member Sen Dog confirmed that Cypress Hill had used illicit substances on stage during their performance, leading to their ban.
"When the hammer swung and we were banned from Saturday Night Live forever, we understood how serious it was," he explained.