YouTube Star Kian Lawley Dropped from ‘The Hate U Give’ Film as Racist Video Surfaces: Read Kian’s Statement

Can you really live and learn from your mistakes?

Kian Lawley Fired from The Hate U Give Racist N-Word Video

UPDATED (2/6, 9:50 a.m. EST): Kian Lawley issues a full statement of apology on Twitter after a snippet of which was originally obtained by Variety, all in light of Lawley’s removal from The Hate U Give.

Read the tweets, below.

Here begins the original article, published on February 6, at 12:39 a.m. EST:

I was minding my business, aimlessly Googling Angie Thomas content on the web tonight after an appreciation post I’d written previously during the day, with no conversance of the latest scandal to rise from the film adaptation of Thomas’ novel, The Hate U Give. The 2017 young adult novel, which examines topical subjects like police brutality and racism experienced by black youth, both systemic and otherwise, concentrates on its female protagonist Starr Carter (portrayed by Amandla Stenberg in the upcoming film) and her childhood friend, Khalil, whom Starr observes being gunned down by policemen. (Hold onto this.)

According to reports by Deadline, a YouTube star by the name of Kian Lawley, who was destined to portray the role of Chris, the white boyfriend of the movie’s female lead, was fired from the upcoming project after Fox learned of a video that shows Lawley hurling racial epithets and mocking black stereotypes with a group of friends, all of whom seemed to take pleasure these antics.

To make matters edgier (but not surprising at all) the footage, which was supposedly re-uploaded on YouTube last month  though it’s believed to have been on the platform possibly 3-4 years before  also suggests Lawley’s use of the N-word. *Shocking*

See the incriminating video in question, below.

Due to the incessant beeping in the clip above, many of Lawley’s words are imperceptible, but of the phrases, you can clearly make out him saying “…we’re all black, drinking purple Kool-Aid, eating Kentucky-fried-motherfucking chicken.” However it was the next sound bite that may well have been the final nail in Lawley’s career coffin; if you watch closely, it appears Lawley is mouthing the words “Fucking n****rs!” This is unclear because it’s beeped-out, but this all seemed to be enough evidence to get him nixed from the film altogether.

Swift with a rejoinder, Fox quickly declared Lawley’s removal from the flick with the following statement given earlier today: “Due to the controversy surrounding his past comments and behavior, Kian Lawley will no longer appear in The Hate U Give. The studio plans to recast the role of Chris and reshoot scenes as needed.”

Kian Lawley Fired from The Hate U Give
Actress Amandla Stenberg (portraying Starr) alongside Kian Lawley (portraying Chris) on the set of ‘The Hate U Give.’

Here’s the thing… none of this is remarkable at all.

We, people of color, are fully aware of what antics take place behind the closed doors of predominantly white spaces. Many little white boys like Kian (Is he white? It doesn’t matter…) are unoriginal and tasteless and have nothing else better to do with themselves than to mock a culture that represents none of those poor qualities. Little white boys like Kian dream of being edgy for the sake of being anything at all. And so often is their understanding of being “cool” is conflated with racism and humor.

With that being said, however, this incident isn’t to say Kian is a horrible person by nature or someone undeserving of change and forgiveness. But what it does speak to is a methodical lack of awareness in too many white boys who have no problem laughing and smiling in our faces while moonlighting this behavior behind our backs for that green dollar bill at the end of the road. Some of those boys, like Kian, are bold enough to play into racist stereotypes and prejudices online because history has yielded them a lifetime contingency plan in the form of trivial excuses.

What’s more shocking is that people have been directing their fury at Angie Thomas, supposedly over Kian’s bullshit; and you can tell by her timeline as of late that she’s been taking it rough. This is irony at its greatest: a black woman must suffer even at the hands of a white boy’s mistake, sounds like some sick shit out of Octavia Butler‘s Kindred, if you ask me.

Nonetheless, Angie has remained steadfast but vocal, and she told y’all a long time ago that she is not with the harassment. In case you forgot, she does she cast movies (more on that here).

Yet some of these so-called “followers” obviously didn’t receive the memo.

“I’ve been hurt severely,” she writes. “Feel free to love your fave. But know that there is a TON of pain associated with this, more than you know.”

Thankfully, some of Thomas’ well-rounded fans had her back, as they should. From the beginning, she’s had absolutely no involvement in the casting decisions for the film, so how could she have anticipated Kian’s past shenanigans? Luckily, her devotees were quick to call this out, too.

The chain of tweets, above, was posted on February 4, just one day ahead of the impending scandal to come, still, Thomas never specified what was troubling her.

But if you go back in time, doing a little timeline sleuthing, you’ll notice a very interesting tweet from Thomas on January 28.

“Yes, I’ve seen it. Yes, I’m side-eyeing the shit out of the person,” she began. “No excuses. No, I won’t say what it is until more is revealed. But yes, I saw it.”

Draw the lines where you may, but I believe this was the harbinger we never saw coming with the video. Think about it.

What’s odd, though, is that if you go over to Kian’s account, his latest tweet is the first since January 27 — exactly one day after the video made rounds online again; though he made no mention of it. However, by the looks of his other social profiles, namely his Instagram, the dates seem to align too perfectly. Kian’s last Instagram was also on January 27, his YouTube channel (superkian13) untouched since December 2017.

went on a date last night 🌹… w bob 😓

A post shared by Kian Lawley (@kianlawley) on

Kian Lawley Fired from The Hate U Give, Retweets Logan Paul

In his return tweet on February 4, Kian seems to speak of some past regret or disappointment that hadn’t been present in any of his previous retweets, one of which seemed to suggest his support for fellow YouTube idiot Logan Paul (*facepalm*), who — and get a load of this — made headlines just a month ago for bringing his camera into a well-known suicide forest in Japan, recorded someone’s lifeless, hanging body, edited and published that very same video on YouTube (though not for “views” as he’d like us to believe).

In the end, Paul emerged virtually unscathed from the scandal with the exception of losing his partnership with the Google Preferred platform and having his future projects on hold. He’s still uploading videos to this day, his latest an apparently apologetic “comeback” video (as if we asked for that) — it already has 12 million views, which, in all honesty, speaks less about Logan Paul than the people who lionize him.

Birds of a feather do what, again? Oh, right: take pleasure in being racially insensitive assholes.

But back to Kian’s latest tweet, in which he writes: “if u don’t learn from ur mistakes, u can never grow as a person…i’ve learned a lot & i am grateful to have the power to change. i never want to be who i was yesterday. we’re in a constant battle to become a better version of ourselves, use ur voice as ur weapon.”

To this, the responses from his fans were fairly mixed.

There were those, much like myself, who could see straight through his bullshit letter.

Then there were those who saw his note sufficient enough and didn’t see any fault in his response at all.

Then someone came along and stole the words straight from my mouth…

Do you want to know the saddest part of this whole fiasco? Mainstream media is so predictable and dismissive that we already know how this story will end. Kian will apologize eventually, and publicly, and maybe there will be substance to his apology. Then again maybe not. What matters is that an apology is all that’s required of boys like Kian to free themselves from mistakes to this degree.

Consequences? In the words of Jake Paul (another YouTube fuckboi)…

But much like his pal, Logan, Kian, too, will fade back into the comfortable fringes of his fellow white boy haven, where he will be safeguarded and reassured that he’s done right by himself and the rest of world. And maybe that’s enough for Kian, maybe that’s enough to allow him a good night’s rest: knowing he quelled a self-created scandal. We’re made to comprehend that, at his age, it’s unlikely he can tolerate the weight of his actions, as white America has designed him to believe.

Imagine how powerful that must feel, having the ability to absolve yourself of your wrongs with the utterance of two insignificant words, three meaningless syllables. If only we all possessed such magic.

I must say, it was comical that Kian and his team thought it a feasible resolution to offer such a disregarding, ambiguous explanation in an effort to escape imminent outrage. It’s even more charming that YouTube participated in an overt tradition of inflicting this sort of pain on people of color for commercial success. All done at the expense of harmless white boys like Kian and Logan just wishing to be cool and likable, never upstanding or chivalrous.

White boys like them are so blissfully unaware and ungrateful of such comforts and conveniences provided to them at birth, the very same privileges that allow them free reign in their own prejudice, in plain sight or otherwise.

Nonetheless, I commend Fox for their response in the wake of this scandal. I commend them for at least making a concrete effort to be a part of the solution instead of perpetuating the problem as YouTube has a history of doing.

Whether Kian has learned from these mistakes we will never know. Should he be punished for the rest of his life? Of course not. Does he have the bandwidth to change his ways? I can’t be so certain. None of us can.

Where do you stand on this issue?

Do you believe Fox made the right decision to part ways with Kian?
We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below.

Paris Close
the authorParis Close
Editor-in-Chief
Founding Editor. Give me Gillian Flynn or give me death.