UPDATE: 11 PM: Actress Gina Rodriguez late on Tuesday released a second, written apology that goes further than the brief video she had posted in the afternoon. “The word I sang carries with it a legacy of hurt and pain that I cannot even imagine,” Rodriguez wrote. “I feel so deeply protective and responsible to the community of color but I have let this community down. I have some serious learning and growing to do and I am so deeply sorry for the pain I have caused.” (You can read the full statement below.)
PREVIOUS 2:20 PM: Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez issued a video apology Tuesday afternoon after an Instagram post showing her singing a lyric with the N-word sparked a social media backlash.
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The offending post, which has been deleted, showed Rodriguez in a makeup chair and passing the time by vamping and singing along to the Fugees track “Ready or Not” from 1996.
The clip sparked massive backlash on Twitter, making Rodriguez’s name the top tend worldwide. The star addressed the controversy with another Instagram post: “Hey, what’s up everybody. I just wanted to reach out and apologize. I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone by singing along to The Fugees, to a song I love, that I grew up on. I love Lauryn Hill, and I really am sorry if I offended you.”
The mea culpa didn’t sway critics, some of whom noted that Rodriguez has been in the spotlight before for her comments regarding race.
In a 2018 Net-a-Porter roundtable, the actress offered a hierarchy of pay gaps that was criticized in some corners as polarizing or clumsy.
“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay, especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it,” Rodriguez said during the talk. “Where white women get paid more than black women, and black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into.”
The actress addressed that incident and her intentions in a tearful interview on the Sway in the Morning radio show, which broadcasts on Eminem’s Shade 45 channel on SiriusXM and is based in Rodriguez’s hometown of Chicago.
“The backlash was devastating to say the least,” Rodriguez said during the January broadcast. “The black community was the only community I looked to growing up. We didn’t have that many Latino shows, so the black community made me feel like I was seen. So to get [called] ‘anti-black’ is saying that I’m ‘anti-family.’”
Rodriguez’s Golden Globe-winning portrayal of Jane Villanueva on Jane the Virgin came to an end this past summer when the show’s 100th and final episode aired on the CW. The show was nominated for two Emmys and four Golden Globes, including the one Rodriguez won in 2015 for best actress in a television series musical or comedy.
Rodriguez’s I Can and I Will production company secured a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for Diary of a Female President from writer Ilana Peña, with Rodriguez executive producing and playing a recurring role. The Chicago native also plays the title character in Netflix’s animated series Carmen Sandiego.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also in the spotlight this week for using the N-word during a live radio interview with WAMC in New York. The politician used the term while describing historical racism aimed at Italian-Americans, a context that has some semantic similarities to Rodriguez’s roundtable references to pay inequity.
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