Billie Eilish apologises for mouthing racist slur in resurfaced video: ‘I am appalled and embarrassed’

Billie Eilish with green hair and sunglasses

Singer Billie Eilish has apologised and said she is “appalled and embarrassed” after a video surfaced of her mouthing to an anti-Asian slur.

The Grammy-winning pop star, 19, addressed a tidal wave of backlash she has weathered for lip-syncing to Tyler The Creator’s 2011 song “Fish” when she was “13 or 14”.

Eilish said in a lengthy statement Tuesday (22 June) on her Instagram stories that she was “appalled and embarrassed” by an edited compilation TikTok video posted earlier this month of her mouthing the track and speaking in various affected accents.

She explained that, at the time, she did not know that the word was derogatory but now wishes to address the criticism as “I’m being labelled something that I am not”.

“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” she wrote.

“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.”

Billie Eilish added that the footage of her speaking in an accent in another clip was “something I started doing as a kid and have done my whole life when talking to pets, friends and family”. She called the accent a “silly, gibberish made up voice”.

“It is absolute gibberish,” she doubled down, “and just me goofing around and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent or culture in the slightest.”

She then affirmed that people in her private circles know she “goofs around with voices” – but this does not “excuse” the hurt the video caused folks, she said.

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

It’s the latest scandal to have seized the “Lovely” hitmaker, whose boyfriend Matthew Tyler Vorce was himself tangled in backlash for his using homophobic and racist slurs in years-old social media posts.

Billie Eilish was also accused d by fans of “queerbaiting” after the music video for “Lost Cause” saw her at a slumber party with women, dancing, eating whipped cream and rolling around.