Billie Eilish is apologizing for mouthing a racial slur in a recently resurfaced video from when she was younger. On June 14, an edited compilation video sparked a conversation on Twitter as it showed the 19-year-old singer using offensive language on social media, mouthing racial slurs, and speaking in an accent that many assumed was mocking Asian people. The video also called out Billie’s rumored boyfriend, Matthew Tyler Vorce, for his past use of racist and homophobic language, which he has since apologized for. A week after the video was posted, Billie publicly addressed the controversy with a lengthy statement on her Instagram Story on June 21.
“I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this. And this is something I WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that I am not,” she began her statement. “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,” she said, referencing Tyler, the Creator’s 2011 song “Fish.” “I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I 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. Regardless of the ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”
She then addressed the clip that showed her using an accent, adding that she was not mocking 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. 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. 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.”
Billie ended her statement by encouraging her fans to continue having an open dialogue in order to learn. “I not only believe in, but have always worked hard to use my platform to fight for inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity and equality,” she said. “We all need to continue having conversations, listening and learning. I hear you and I love you.”