Billie Eilish has issued an apology following a video that appeared to show the singer mouthing an anti-Asian slur. The singer said she was “appalled and embarrassed” about the clip, which she says was recorded when she was around “13 or 14.”
Originally posted to TikTok, the compilation includes a clip of Eilish mouthing the lyrics to Tyler the Creator’s song “Fish”, which includes a derogatory anti-Asian term. Social media users have also accused the singer of imitating Asian accents within the compilation.
As the compilation began to circulate, fans called on Eilish to comment. In response, the singer posted a statement to her Instagram stories on June 21, 2021, saying she wanted to address the video as she was being “labeled” as something she was not.
Explaining that at the time she didn’t know the word was derogatory, Eilish wrote: “This song was the only time I’d ever heard that word as it 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.”
Eilish said was her “speaking in a silly gibberish made up voice” which was something she started doing as a child and continued to do when talking to her pets, friends, and family. “It is absolute gibberish and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent, or culture in the SLIGHTEST way. Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life,” the musician, 19, wrote.
Eilish went on to further explain that “regardless of how it was interpreted” she is appalled at the ripple effects it may have had. “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 labelled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it.”
The singer concluded the post: “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. I hear you and I love you. Thank you for taking the time to read this.”