Billie Eilish posted a statement to her Instagram Story on June 21 addressing a compilation video on TikTok that shows her mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur. In the clip, she is mouthing lyrics from Tyler the Creator's 2011 song "Fish," including a derogatory and offensive lyric.
The resurfaced video went viral, prompting Eilish’s fans to demand an explanation from the 19-year-old singer. In response, Eilish said she “wanted to address” the video because she believes she’s “being labeled something that [she is] not.”
"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,” she began. "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."
The compilation also includes a clip of her speaking in a way that many believed was mocking Asian people, which Eilish claims is a complete misinterpretation.
"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," Eilish said. "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.”
Eilish continued: "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."
This statement comes on the heels of Eilish's boyfriend Matthew Tyler Vorce's recent apology for his past racist, homophobic, and fatphobic Twitter and Facebook posts. When fans first found the posts and called him out, Eilish came to Vorce's defense, claiming the posts were "literally made up" and called her fandom "dumb" for thinking otherwise. However, Vorce wrote that he is "ashamed" for what he had written.
Eilish ended her own apology by saying that she believes in equality and having difficult conversations. "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."