Billie Eilish Apologizes After Viral Video Shows The Singer Mouthing Offensive Slur

Eilish said she was 13 or 14 years old when the footage was recorded

Billie Eilish performs onstage during the 2021 iHeartRadio ALTer EGO on January 28, 2021. | Getty Images
Billie Eilish performs onstage during the 2021 iHeartRadio ALTer EGO on January 28, 2021. | Getty Images

Billie Eilish apologized on Monday after a viral compilation of brief video clips in which she mouths an anti-Asian slur attracted criticism.

In one of the videos, Eilish appears to be lip syncing to a song by Tyler, the Creator called “Fish.”

“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," Eilish said. The pop star added that she heard the slur for the first time from the song and that the thought of uttering the word makes her “want to barf.”

“Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful, and for that I am sorry,” Eilish, who is now 19, said in an apology note she posted to her Instagram story.

The compilation was shared on TikTok and has been viewed 1M times. In another clip from the series of videos, Eilish uses an accent that TikTok viewers said mocks Asian people. Eilish said the voice is “silly gibberish” that she’s used her “whole life when talking to [her] pets, friends, and family.”

“It is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent, or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” Eilish said. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”

The singer, who has won seven Grammys, said she didn’t mean for any of her actions to cause offense and that the pain she may have caused others is heartbreaking.

“I not only believe in, but have always worked hard to use my platform to fight for inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity and equality,” Eilish said.

Eilish thanked those who read her note and encouraged people to continue having difficult conversations and learning from them.

Eilish is known for opening up about her experiences with mental health. In a May interview with British Vogue, Eilish spoke about experiencing abuse when she was younger, among other topics, such as the media scrutiny she faces about her appearance.