In a statement released this morning, the NME has issued an apology to singer-songwriter Morrissey over a 2007 interview that the singer alleges depicts him unfairly as racist. Morrissey is currently suing the magazine for libel.
The statement, which was issued on the famed music magazine’s website this morning, says that the magazine “does not believe that [Morrissey] is a racist.”
The statement also said that “we didn’t believe that we were saying he was [racist] and we apologize to Morrissey if he or anyone else misunderstood our piece in that way. We never meant to upset Morrissey and we hope we can both get back to doing what we do best.”
The controversy stems from an interview that the former Smiths frontman gave to NME writer Tim Jonze in which he explained his reasons for not living in England thusly: “Although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England, the more British identity disappears. So the price is enormous.”
Following the publication of the article, Morrissey began taking legal action against the NME for libel, claiming that his comments were deliberately misconstrued by editors of the magazine to make him appear xenophobic. He received an unlikely supporter in Jonze, who asked that his name be removed from the story. While Jonze did say that he personally disagreed with the singer’s comments, he also claimed that NME editors heavily rewrote his story.
As of now, Morrissey has not dropped his suit against the NME, despite finally receiving the apology he asked for five years ago.