"We wish to make clear that we do not believe that he is a racist," the statement read. "We didn’t think we were saying he was and we apologise to Morrissey if he or anyone else misunderstood our piece in that way. We never set out to upset Morrissey and we hope we can both get back to doing what we do best."
The statement comes as the July court date for Morrissey's libel suit against the magazine for the piece (titled "Morrissey: Big Mouth Strikes Again") approaches. In the interview, originally published November 27, 2007, Moz explained to writer Tim Jonze why he doesn't live in England anymore, reportedly saying: "Although I don't have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England, the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous."
He added in that interview, "If you travel to Germany, it's still absolutely Germany. If you travel to Sweden, it still has a Swedish identity. But travel to England and you have no idea where you are."
Morrissey accused NME of misconstruing his statements to make him sound xenophobic and anti-immigration. Jonze even asked the magazine to remove his name from the piece, as editors rewrote much of the article.
Back in October Britain's most senior libel judge, Mr. Justice Tugendhat, declared that Morrissey did have grounds to sue NME, particularly the magazine's publisher, IPC Media, and former editor Conor McNicholas. Morrissey's will be the first libel trial before jury in the United Kingdom in two years due to the fact that such cases are typically complex, expensive and long.