Liza Koshy is apologizing after resurfaced videos from 2016 depict her pretending to speak Japanese.
Koshy, 24, did not specify exactly what she was apologizing for, but her Instagram post on Sunday comes after she was accused of racist behaviour in two videos.
In one deleted video, Koshy and her ex-boyfriend, David Dobrick, imitated stereotypical Asian accents while tasting candies from Japan and Hawaii. In a second video, the pair pretended to speak Japanese after eating Hawaiian snacks.
“Why is no one talking about this? It’s a clear example of the normalized racism against Asians,” a TikTok user named CallMeSukiwi asked. “They’re trying Japanese candy and pretending to talk in Japanese as a joke. Isn’t that still… racist?”
Koshy posted a long-form statement to Instagram in response to the backlash.
“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 Ibram X. Kendi.
“This quote was shared with me in conversation a couple [of] weeks ago and has been sitting in my heart ever since. While we focus on systemic anti-Black racism in the country, I’ve been hesitant to centre my voice,” Koshy 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.”
The Internet sensation took some time to self-reflect.
“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,” Koshy wrote. “I am taking inventory, taking initiative and taking note that my impact and influence will weigh greater than my intention.”
“As a woman of colour and self-defined ‘little brown girl,’ I have experienced the harm of prejudices in my own life,” she said. “I am sorry to the beautiful communities I have caused hurt within.”
Concluding, “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.”