Late last week, an edited clip of a young Billie Eilish — around the age of 13 or 14 — surfaced on TikTok. In it, the artist can be heard allegedly mocking accents and in one particularly spliced together bit she’s seen singing along to a song (Tyler, The Creator’s “Fish” off his 2011 album Goblin) that includes the racial slur “ch—.”
Now, following allegations of racism and calls for her cancellation on social media, Eilish has posted a statement to her Instagram account in which she clarifies some of the footage and apologies for causing anyone pain.
“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 begins, with the text posted over a blue-sky background with purple flowers. “There’s a video edit going around of me when I was 13 or 14 where I mouthed a word from a song that at the time I didn’t know was a derogatory term and used against members of the Asian community. I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word. 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 is that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”
She then continues to address the alleged accents heard in some clips, saying: “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. 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. Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”
“Regardless of how it was interpreted 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 labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” the statement continues. “I not only believe in, but have always worked hard to use my platform to fight for inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity and equality.”
She ended the post by saying, “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.”
Most recently, Eilish appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone ahead of her anticipated second album, Happier Than Ever, out July 30 on Darkroom/Interscope.
Her team had no further comment.