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An Ex-Vine Star Quietly Deleted Videos Mocking Salon Technicians After People Called It Racist

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Summerella apologizes for offending anyone in a video mocking nail salon technicians. However, she adds that comedians have historically made these same kinds of jokes.

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Summerella, an ex-Vine personality turned YouTuber, quietly deleted a video that attempted to parody Asian-operated nail salons earlier this week after massive backlash and being contacted by BuzzFeed News on Thursday.

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Summerella has hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook, half a million subscribers to her YouTube channel, and 2.5 million followers on Instagram.

In the video, Summerella mocked a Vietnamese-sounding accent to suggest nail technicians gossip about clients in their native tongue in front of them. (One user screen-recorded the bit.) She captioned it, "In the nail salon like."

Summerella @_Summerella_ mocking Vietnamese nail techs 🤔

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The video did garner a few laughs from her fans, initially. (Many of the initial reactions have been deleted.)

😭😂😂😂 https://t.co/wc15Y6Fjlf

However, as the video began spreading, so did the backlash. Many people not only found her sketch unfunny but also deemed it offensive and racist.

Viners lose vine and do unfunny shit like this https://t.co/cVVABNXrxC

@_Summerella_ me looking for the humor in this racist ass video

@_Summerella_ this is ignorant & racist, y'all stay assuming what people talk about & "mimicking" a language you know nothing about

@_Summerella_ My culture is not for you to take as a joke.

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"Do your own nails then," someone retorted.

Many people — namely Vietnamese-Americans — dispelled the myth that nail salon technicians talk about clients.

@_Summerella_ as a vietnamese person lemme defend my people and say that we don’t even talk about you 90% of the ti… https://t.co/74tsY3zJNR

"Nail technicians work hard as hell ... and y'all use Vietnamese accents for your own racist comedic jokes?" one user tweeted.

nail technicians work hard as hell to get your eyebrows on fleek, your nails looking right, and your toes suckable… https://t.co/jzynXr6ESs

A handful of people quickly came to Summerella's defense. They said her video was not racist because "plenty of people" have mocked the accent previously, and because "she's a comedian."

@_Summerella_ How's this racist plenty of people do this why is everyone mad it's a joke she's a comedian

@_Summerella_ So all yall in her comments saying she racist when this joke has been done many times and nothing has… https://t.co/P57GNGHKh7

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The criticism grew more tense as people implied others were giving Summerella "a pass" because she is a person of color. This then inspired a few declarative statements like, "Black people don't approve of this shit."

@_Summerella_ black people don't approve of this shit

They made it clear that this was one person's misstep.

@tinyheroes_ @_Summerella_ EXACTLY!! but people are trying to drag the whole community instead of her.

By Thursday, at the height of the backlash, Summerella had not addressed any of the criticisms directly. The videos remained on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, but she tweeted a generalized statement in response. "Everybody isn't going to like you and I'm okay with that," she wrote.

Everybody isn’t going to like you and I’m okay with that

When contacted, Summerella's rep said they "would love" to give a statement, but they were not immediately able to respond to BuzzFeed News.

I bought my family a house at 21 ....2018 I wanna buy myself a mansion 🙏😋

People wondered if she would ever address the criticisms. Early on Friday, the videos disappeared from her pages.

@_Summerella_ you gon adress that nail salon video or nah

After BuzzFeed News followed up with Summerella and her reps about the decision to pull down the videos, she provided her first statement — which she also shared in an Instagram caption and then on Twitter.

"I was not making fun of anybody’s culture, just making comedy through an uncomfortable situation I have been through," she said. "I’m not racist whatsoever."

She added: "I usually post things that I’ve gone through personally and just try to have fun with it and make people laugh. I never meant to offend anyone and I apologize."

She then went on to say that these jokes and videos have been made by comedians time and time again with no "issue."

"Comedians make videos all the time [like] 'white people be like' or 'black people be like' or 'Mexicans be like' and it’s never been an issue," Summerella said. "Tons of TV shows and movies have been made bringing comedy to things that ordinarily make everyone at some point uncomfortable but it's done in humor and not hate."

She concluded that "comedy isn’t as free as it used to be, and it’s cool, I get it."

"If I offended anybody in my video 'in nail salons like' that wasn’t what I was trying to do," she said. "Again I apologize."

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

Contact Tanya Chen at tanya.chen@buzzfeed.com.

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