YouTube star Liza Koshy has apologized for ‘perpetuating racist ideas’ and ‘reinforcing stereotypes’ after past videos of her mocking the Japanese language resurfaced online.
In a since-deleted YouTube video that was shared in 2016, Koshy and her then-boyfriend, YouTuber David Dobrik, are imitating Asian accents and pretending to speak Japanese while taste-testing Japanese candy.
TikTok user @callmesukiwi posted footage from the old video last week, writing: ‘They’re trying Japanese candy and pretending to talk in Japanese as a joke. Isn’t that still…racist???’
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Sorry: YouTube star Liza Koshy, 24, has apologized after past videos of her mocking the Japanese language resurfaced online
Controversy: Koshy and her then-boyfriend David Dobrik, 23, are pretending to speak Japanese while testing Japanese candy in a since-deleted video from 2016
The footage shows Dobrik, 23, mockingly pretending to speak Japanese, prompting Koshy, 24, to yell: ‘No!”
‘It’s not racist,’ he insists. ‘That’s like the sounds I hear when they talk.’
‘No, it’s not racist as long as I keep saying “no,”‘ she replies.
The footage also features a second clip of the former couple doing the same thing while wearing Hawaiian shirts and testing Hawaiian candy.
‘Why is no one talking about this? It’s a clear example of the normalized racism against Asians,’ the TikTok user wrote, tagging both Koshy and Dobrik.
Hitting back: TikTok user @callmesukiwi posted footage from the video last week, saying it’s a ‘clear example of the normalized racism against Asians’
While Dobrik has yet to respond, Koshy took to Instagram on Monday to post a lengthy apology.
‘You can be someone who has no intention to be racist, but because you’re conditioned in a world that is racist and a country that is structured in anti-Black racism, you yourself can perpetuate those ideas,’ she wrote, quoting author and historian Ibram X. Kendi.
‘This quote was shared with me in conversation a couple weeks ago, and has been sitting in my heart ever since. While we focus on systemic anti-Black racism in country, I’ve been hesitant to center my voice,’ she continued. ‘My work has been within but now I recognize and take responsibility for the times I was not the ally I am becoming today.
‘Being anti-racist requires a personal reckoning, and I can’t in good faith continue to use my platform for progress without taking accountability myself. I am taking inventory, taking initiative and taking note that my impact and influence will weigh greater than my intention.’
Still going: The TikTok user also shared a second clip. of them mockingly imitating Asian accents
Throwback: In the clip, they are wearing Hawaiian shirts and trying Hawaiian candy
Koshy admitted that she once thought the jokes were ‘innocent,’ but she has since realized they ‘were actually tainted with implicit bias.’
‘What might have been intended as “playful” was actually to some, incredibly painful,’ she acknowledged. ‘And for that. I am so sorry.’
The influencer went on to say that she as a ‘little brown girl,’ she has experienced ‘prejudices’ in her own life.
‘However, this reality does not exempt me from the responsibility of acknowledging the times I’ve unknowingly perpetuated racist ideas,’ she noted. ‘I see now that some of my previous influences and my own past thinking, speaking and storytelling reinforced stereotypes
‘I created characters of different cultures with the intent of celebrating them, but with the impact of appropriating them. I am sorry to the beautiful communities I have caused hurt within.
Owning it: Koshy took to Instagram on Monday to apologize, saying she ‘unknowingly perpetuated racist ideas’ and ‘reinforced stereotypes’
Candid: Koshy admitted that she once thought the jokes were ‘innocent’ but now realizes they were ‘tainted with implicit bias ‘
Accepted: TikTok user @callmesukiwi appreciated her apology and shared it in a follow-up video, writing: ‘Thank you @lizzza for apologizing and recognizing the impact of your actions!’
“It takes a combination of individual and collective reckoning with our past to heal and move forward together,’ she continued. ‘Consider this my resignation from ignorance, and my declaration as an ally in action.
‘I will give grace, make space and break these damn systems in place like my life depends on it…because too many do.’
Koshy ended her post by showing her gratitude for those who have helped her learn and grow from her mistakes.
‘Thank you to my guardian angels in life and online who have been gracefully guiding this growth of mine, and I thank God for my continued awakening,’ she wrote.
TikTok user @callmesukiwi appreciated Koshy’s apology and shared it in a follow-up video, writing: ‘Thank you @lizzza for apologizing and recognizing the impact of your actions! @daviddobrik what about you?’