YouTuber Liza Koshy has taken to Instagram to apologize after a video of her using a mock Asian accent resurfaced. Another clip included footage of Koshy pretending to speak Japanese.
“What I once thought of as ‘innocent jokes,'” wrote Koshy, “were actually tainted with implicit bias, and what might have been intended as ‘playful’ was actually to some, incredibly painful. And for that, I am sorry.”
One video, which was originally posted in 2016, shows Koshy pretending to have an Asian accent while tasting candy from Japan and Hawaii. Then-boyfriend — and fellow YouTuber — David Dobrik is also in the clip.
Dobrik says, “It’s not racist. That’s like the sounds I hear when they talk.”
“No, it’s not racist as long as I keep saying no,” says Koshy.
In a second video, the couple pretend to be able to speak Japanese after eating the candy.
Koshy also wrote the following on Instagram:
“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,” Ibram X. Kendi author, historian and leading scholar of race and discriminatory policy in America. “No matter what color you are.”
This quote was shared with me in conversation a couple weeks ago, and has been sitting in my heart ever since. While we focus on systemic anti-Black racism in country, I’ve been hesitant to center 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.
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. I am taking inventory, taking initiative and taking note that my impact and influence will weigh greater than my intention.
Koshy is the co-creator, executive producer & star of YouTube Original series Liza on Demand. The show’s third season was announced last winter. Following :Cobra Kai’s move from YouTube to Netflix, her Liza on Demand is the last remaining YouTube original scripted series. Koshy will next be seen starring alongside Sabrina Carpenter in the Netflix Original Film Work It, a dance comedy executive produced by Alicia Keys and Leslie Morgenstein. Koshy’s other acting credits include Hulu’s Freakish and Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween. She is repped by CAA, Carter Media Group and Hansen Jacobson.
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