British Rapper KSI Posts Video Apology After Using Racist Slur
British rapper, YouTuber, and boxer KSI has apologized for using a slur for Pakistani and Southeast Asian people in a recent video, adding that he will “take a break from social media for a while.”
The incident occurred Sunday, April 2, with a video uploaded by the YouTube group KSI helped found, called the Sidemen. The clip was a spoof of the long-running U.K. game show, Countdown, with the players tasked at one point with trying to form the longest word they could out of a random set of nine letters.
KSI chose the word “P*ki” and even appeared well aware that he probably shouldn’t have. “Alright, look, we need points, and I don’t mean this maliciously,” he said before saying the slur (which was bleeped out in the broadcast). While the other people on the show laughed, KSI continued, “I’m sorry, we need points. Guys, come on.”
(While the original video has been taken down from the Sidemen’s YouTube channel, a clip of the incident is still floating around social media.)
KSI later issued an apology on Twitter, writing, “I wanna apologise for saying a racial slur in a recent Sidemen video. There’s no excuse, no matter the circumstances, I shouldn’t have said it and I’m sorry. I’ve always said to my audience that they shouldn’t worship me or put me on a pedestal because I’m human. Im not perfect, I’m gonna mess up in life, and lately I’ve been messing up a lot. So I’ve decided I’m gonna just take a break from social media for a while.”
On Wednesday, KSI posted a video where he again apologized for his words. “I want to address a recent incident in a video whereby my actions have affected many, many people, especially in the South Asian community. I want to take this opportunity to offer my deepest and most sincere apologies for my words and actions,” KSI said. “In a recent video, I used a racial term that’s offensive to so, so many, especially in the South Asian community. There are no excuses for what I said and I recognize that I’ve caused a lot of hurt and disappointment to so many people that look up to me.”
KSI added, “My ignorance has only reinforced the negative stereotypes that have existed for way too long in this country. I want to express my heartfelt regret for what I said and I want you to know I am genuinely ashamed and deeply sorry for any pain or suffering I have caused. I realized that my words have consequences and as a public figure, I have a responsibility to use my platform for good rather than perpetuating discrimination. And this week, I have failed to do this.”
KSI continued, adding that he would visit a mosque on Wednesday, “I want to say again, how truly sorry I am for my actions. I know that it’s going to take time and effort to really regain the trust and respect of those I’ve hurt. And I’m prepared to tirelessly work to make sure I make amends. And I hope my sincere apology and commitment to educate myself will be a step towards healing and unity. And I fully understand that my actions will speak louder than my words.”
The Sidemen also issued a statement, acknowledging that the slur was “completely unacceptable and inexcusable.”
The group continued: “The fact the incident was made light of on the show was wrong and compounded the hurt. We deeply regret this and would like to truly apologise. We have reflected on this incident both collectively and individually and are truly ashamed that we let ourselves and you guys down in this way. We want to use our channels to promote positivity and great entertainment. We stand against racism and discrimination of any kind and we failed to do that.”
The backlash against KSI was widespread. Among the more prominent figures who spoke out were BBC presenter and DJ Paramdeep Sehdev (also known as Bobby Friction), as well as actor and comedian Guz Khan.
“I had this racial slur thrown at me & got physical beats by racists for my entire childhood,” Sehdev said. “Genuinely upset that @KSI (a guy my children love) did this & thought it was funny. The rest of them laughing can go f**k themselves too. People dehumanising brown people like it normal.”
This story was updated April 6 with KSI’s video apology.