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Billie Eilish apologizes for mouthing anti-Asian slur in viral video: ‘I am appalled’

A woman with green and black hair raising a hand to her face with long black nails
Singer Billie Eilish arrives at the 2020 Oscars in Los Angeles.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Pop musician Billie Eilish has apologized for a viral video of her mouthing an anti-Asian slur when she was “13 or 14.”

On Monday, the “Bad Guy” hitmaker released a statement on her Instagram story addressing the clip, which sees a young Eilish lip syncing along to a racist lyric in rapper Tyler, the Creator’s “Fish.”

“This is something that i WANT to address because i’m being labeled something that i am not,” the 19-year-old Grammy winner wrote. “There’s a video edit going around of me when i was 13 or 14 where 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.

“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that i ever mouthed along to that word. this song was the only time i’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family.”

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Billie Eilish’s forthcoming album, the follow-up to her smash debut, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” comes after her record of the year Grammy win in March.

Eilish added that regardless of her “ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact ... that it was hurtful. and for that i am sorry.” She pushed back, however, on the accusation that she mocked the way Asian people speak in another clip of her making a series of unintelligible sounds.

“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,” she continued in her post.

“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. anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”

On the first single from her forthcoming album, Eilish depicts a relationship in which a predatory older man takes advantage of a younger woman.

In another portion of a video compilation posted by TikTok user @Icxvy and circulating on social media, Eilish’s brother and frequent collaborator, Finneas, allegedly “calls her out for talking with a blaccent.” The “Your Power” artist did not specifically respond to that allegation in her Instagram message.

“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 how 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. 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.”


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