Rising country music star Morgan Wallen has been pulled from a planned performance on Saturday Night Live over coronavirus protocol breaches.
The singer was filmed at a party in Alabama at the weekend, socialising with other guests and appearing to not wear a mask.
Wallen, who said he has not tested positive for Covid-19, has apologised for his behaviour and confirmed he would no longer be performing on Saturday Night Live.
Describing his actions as “short-sighted,” the 27-year-old said: “I respect the show’s decision because I know I put them in jeopardy and I take ownership for this. I’d like to apologise to SNL, to my fans, to my team for bringing me these opportunities and I let them down.”
Tennessee-born Wallen, whose hits include More Than My Hometown, Whiskey Glasses and 7 Summers, said he has “some growing up to do” after being distracted by his success.
“I think I lost myself a little bit,” he said. “I tried to find joy in the wrong places and, I don’t know, it’s left me with less joy, so I’m going to try to work on that.
“I’m going to take a step back from the spotlight for a little while and go work on myself. I wish I could have made country music and my fans proud this Saturday, but I respect the decision once again.”
Wallen said Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michael had given him a “lot of encouragement” and had hinted he could make his debut on the sketch show at a later date.
Wallen’s replacement on the show has not yet been announced.
This weeks Saturday Night Live host is the comedian Bill Burr. The show is filmed in New York City and invited a studio audience back for the launch of its 46th season last week.
According to the New York Times, the show had to pay the audience members 150 dollars (£115) each to ensure compliance with state guidelines that say productions “must prohibit live audiences unless they consist only of paid employees, cast and crew”.