Jun 30, 2020

    Liza Koshy Apologised For Her Past Videos That "Perpetuate Racist Ideas" And "Enforce Stereotypes"

    "Consider this my resignation from ignorance, and my declaration as an ally in action."

    YouTuber Liza Koshy has apologised for "perpetuating racist ideas" and "enforcing stereotypes" in past videos.

    Craig Barritt / Getty Images

    Last week, TikTok user @callmesukiwi posted a clip of an old video of Koshy and her then-boyfriend David Dobrik. In the video, they taste-tested Japanese candy, and mockingly pretended to speak Japanese.

    "It's not racist. That's, like, the sounds I hear when they talk," Dobrik says in the video.

    "No, no, it's not racist as long as I keep saying 'no'," Koshy replies.

    The pair repeat the same "joke" in another video where they tested Hawaiian candy. "They're trying Japanese candy and pretending to talk in Japanese as a joke," the TikTok user wrote on the video. "Isn't that still... racist?"

    In a statement posted to her Instagram on Sunday, Koshy said she "now recognises and takes responsibility" for the times she didn't act as "the ally she is becoming today".

    "Being antiracist requires a personal reckoning, and I can't in good faith continue to use my platform for progress without taking accountability myself," Koshy wrote.

    Rich Fury / Getty Images

    She went on: "I am taking inventory, taking initiative and taking note that my impact and influence will weigh greater than my intention."

    "What I once thought of as 'innocent jokes' were actually tainted with implicit bias, and what might have been intended as 'playful' was actually to some, incredibly painful," she said. "And for that, I am so sorry."

    She continued to say that while she has experienced prejudice first hand as a woman of colour, that doesn't exempt her from taking responsibility for the times she has "unknowingly perpetuated racist ideas".

    Leon Bennett / Getty Images

    "I see now that some of my previous influences and my own past thinking, speaking, and storytelling reinforced stereotypes," Koshy wrote.

    Koshy's apology follows several other YouTubers who, over the past few days, have acknowledged and apologised for their own problematic past on the platform.

    Jenna Marbles / youtube.com

    On Thursday, Jenna Mourey — better known as Jenna Marbles — addressed past offensive videos, and announced she was leaving the platform indefinitely.

    "I want to make sure the things that I put into the world are not hurting anyone," Mourey said in a video posted to her 20 million subscribers.

    "I think there was a time when having all of my old content exist on the internet showed how much I have grown up as a person, which I’m very proud of. I think now it’s hard for that content to exist at all because I think people watch it and don’t bother to look at when it was posted or care about what path I took to get to where I am," she went on. "It offends them now, and, if that’s the case, where people will watch something and be offended now, I don’t want it to exist."

    Then, on Friday, Shane Dawson posted a video apologising for his own past racism, including doing blackface and saying the n-word, and for joking about paedophilia.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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