On Monday, Billie Eilish apologized for her use of an anti-Asian slur in a resurfaced video, which has recently been circulating on social media.
In the compilation video published last week on TikTok, Eilish can be seen mouthing the words to Tyler, the Creator’s song, “Fish,” which included the slur. “Many of you have been asking me to address this,” Eilish wrote to her fans, “and this is something that I WANT to address because i’m being labeled something that I am not.”
The Grammy winner, who is now 19, explained that she was “13 or 14” when she made the video in question. “I mouthed a word from a song that at the time I didn’t know was a derogatory term used against members of the asian community,” she admitted. “i am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that i ever mouthed along to that word.”
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The singer-songwriter went on to explain that the 2011 song represented her only form of exposure to the racial slur, and that she didn’t understand its meaning, given the fact that no one in her family had ever used it around her. “Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful,” she wrote. “and for that i am sorry.”
Also featured in the video edit is a segment in which Eilish appears to be imitating, or mocking, an accent that is not her own. Eilish explained on Instagram, though, that what she was actually doing was something quite different.
“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. it is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent, or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” she wrote. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my 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.
“i not only believe in, but have always worked hard to use my platform to fight for inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity and equality,” she continued. “we all need to continue having conversations, listening and learning. I hear you and I love you. Thank you for taking the time to read this.”
Eilish’s entire social media statement can be found below.