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Billie Eilish apologizes for mouthing racial slur in video

▶ Watch Video: Billie Eilish: “Nobody that knows me thinks I’m a dark person”

Billie Eilish has apologized for mouthing a racial slur in a recently resurfaced video. Eilish addressed the video on Instagram, writing on her stories that when she used the word, she didn’t know it was derogatory. 

A compilation of old videos and some of Eilish’s old tweets began circulating on social media last week, and in one clip, the singer mouths the lyrics to the song “Fish” by Tyler, the Creator. In the song, the rapper uses a slur against Asians.

On Instagram, the 19-year-old said she was 13 or 14 when she was mouthing the lyrics to the song and she is now “appalled and embarrassed and want to barf” that she “ever mouthed along to that word.” 

“This song is the only time I’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family,” Eilish wrote. “Regardless of the ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”

In another part of the compilation video, which was first shared on TikTok, Eilish appears to mock Asian people. “The other video in that edited clip is me speaking in a silly gibberish made up voice… something I started doing as a kid and have done my whole life when talking to my pets, friends, and family,” Eilish wrote. “It is absolutely gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way imitation of anyone or any language, accent, or culture in the SLIGHTEST.”

Eilish said she has been “goofing around with voices” her whole life. “Regardless of how it was interpreted I did not mean for any of my actions to have caused hurt to others and it absolutely breaks my heart that it is being labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” she wrote.

“I not only believe in, but have always worked hard to use my platform to fight for inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity and equality,” said Eilish. “We all need to continue having conversations, listening and learning. I hear you and I love you.”

Tyler, the Creator, who is known for his often outrageous lyrics, has not addressed the lyric that Eilish was lip syncing in the video. He has, however, come under fire for using another slur against gay people, which he has addressed.

In a 2019 interview, the rapper, whose real name is Tyler Okonma, told the Guardian he is not homophobic. In fact, he often raps about his attraction to men and in 2015, he tweeted that he came out of the closet. 

Eilish has been criticized in recent weeks for so-called “queer baiting” – or pretending to be queer to appeal to the LGBTQ community – in her music video for the song “Lost Cause.” She has yet to respond to the criticism. 


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