Billie Eilish apologizes for mouthing anti-Asian slur in past video: 'I want to barf'
Billie Eilish is apologizing after past videos of her seemingly mocking Asian and Black accent drew criticism after recirculating on the internet.
The 19-year-old issued a statement via her Instagram Stories on Monday, saying that she was "appalled and embarrassed" for mouthing along to an anti-Asian slur from Tyler the Creator's 2011 song "Fish."
"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," her post began. "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."
Eilish explained that outside of the track, the slur "was never used around me by anyone in my family. Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact [that] it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry."
The singer also addressed the rest of the clip, as commenters have accused her of mocking Asian and Black accents. Eilish denied that she was making fun of others, saying instead that she was "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 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," Eilish added. "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."
In a longer version of the clip in which Eilish speaks in a different voice (in an IG live from when her username was wherearetheavocados) her older brother Finneas can be heard asking, "Hey Billie why are you speaking with an accent?"
The "Your Power" singer concluded her apology by writing, "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."
Read Eilish's entire response below: