If you've made a video using racial slurs in the past and become famous, chances are quite high that said video will come back to bite you. Hard. YouTuber and Teen Choice Award winner Kian Lawley has been removed from the upcoming film The Hate U Give, after a video of him using the n-word surfaced in late January, according to Deadline. A spokesperson for Twentieth Century Fox Films said in a statement, “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.”
The sad irony is that the film, based on the 2017 novel of the same name, is racially charged to begin with, having been directly inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Written by Angie Thomas, the book centers on 16-year-old Starr Carter, a young girl pulled to activism after witnessing her unarmed best friend be killed by the police. The book straddles between Starr's poor, black neighborhood, the white prep school she goes to and her delicate balance between the two. Hate's main star Amandla Stenberg, who plays Starr, is herself a young activist who has been vocal about injustice, diversity and racial inequality throughout her career. Lawley was set to play Starr's boyfriend, Chris, but those scenes are now set to be scrubbed from the film.
Lawley took to Twitter not to apologize, but to chalk his use of slurs up to mistakes and to express his desire for growth.
Unsurprisingly, the book's author was on the receiving end of backlash from Lawley supporters, and she also addressed the issue a few hours after his non-apology via Twitter.
Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Issa Rae, Sabrina Carpenter, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson and Common also co-star in the film. There's no word yet on who will fill the role of Chris and how this will affect the film's release.