Videos of a 13- or 14-year-old Billie Eilish have surfaced on TikTok that appear to show the singer using or mouthing a racial slur and making fun of non-English speakers. One video shows Eilish singing along to Tyler, the Creator’s song, “Fish,” which uses the anti-Asian slur “ch***.” TikTokers claim the other video shows Eilish making fun of accents. Eilish took to Instagram Stories to explain the latter video and apologize for the former.
“i love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this. And this is something that i WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that i am not,” the statement began. Eilish went on to write that when she mouthed the slur in “Fish,” she didn’t know it was derogatory. “this song was the only time i’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family,” she wrote. “regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact that it was hurtful. and for that i am sorry.”
The second clip she denies outright as having any connection to human speech in any language, writing “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.” She does regret that people hearing her “gibberish” have been caused pain. Last week, Eilish’s boyfriend, Matthew Tyler Vorst, also apologized for racist and homophobic language in past social-media posts. Eilish’s latest album, Happier Than Ever, comes out July 30.