What was the Accusation?
In August of 2018, YouTube star Laura Lee came under intense fire after old tweets surfaced in which she made racist comments. One of the tweets read: “How do you blindfold a Chinese person? Put floss over their eyes! #Dumdgook.” Another tweet used the N word, saying: “Ni***s in Paris? Whaaaaat I thought they couldn’t afford to leave Compton! LOL.” She also attacked African-Americans by saying “Tip for all black people if you pull ur pants up you can run from the police faster #yourwelcome.” Many of her 5 million fans were disappointed by comments and unsubscribed from her channel (approximately 200,000). One wrote: I’m disappointed. I really liked Laura Lee but I can’t let racists thrive, just unsubscribed.” Another fan wrote: “It’s really sad and hurtful to learn that someone you supported is actually very racist and can’t even fully apolgize for it. Usually I just laugh at racism from these “influencers” but Laura Lee cut pretty deep. I really hope you learn from this @Laura88Lee”. Lee released an extremely tearful apology on her channel, arguing she was “stupid and ignorant,” claiming she has “no excuses,” and expressing her love for her fans. She also lashed out at her haters for sending death threats to her mother and physically attacking a child close to her. Following the apology video, the social media community was very active in mocking her melodramatic apology. One meme showed a man pouring a drop of water onto his face to simulate crying in order to demonstrate the inauthenticity of Lee’s apology. After the response to her first apology, Lee removed the video, claiming it didn’t “represent” the human being she is today and provided a second video with much more composure. In the second video, she apologizes for “coming off like a victim” and again emphasizes how sorry she is and the growth she has made as a person in the last six year.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Mortification, Bolstering, Attacking the Accuser
Laura Lee’s First Apology Video:
I want to talk to you guys in this video it has been so hard. It’s almost been an impossible week. It’s hard “ it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for you guys. I’m so sorry for disappointing you. It hurts me so bad to disappoint you all who’ve supported me for so many years. And know that I’m better than that person.
I, six years ago, decided to re-tweet things that were so vile and hurtful. I was so stupid and ignorant. And I have no excuses here today; I’m not here to give you an excuse. I have no excuses. I’m only here to say that I’m so sorry. And I hope one day that you guys can see me for the woman that I am. And that I can prove to you guys that I’m not that girl.
I love you guys so much. And whenever I see I disappointed you, it just breaks my heart into a million pieces. I’m so sorry for anyone that’s been hurt through this, anyone.
I feel so just disappointed that I don’t even like to look at myself because like I can’t even believe that I would re-tweet ugly things and you know things that would hurt people. Like I can’t believe I didn’t see the pain behind that kind of tweet and that kind of behavior. And I’m so sorry. There’s no excuse.
There is nothing I can say that’s an excuse. I’m just sorry for making that six years ago.
I wish I was better six years ago, but I can’t pray for the past. I can only pray for the future.
I also want to say in this video that, please. Please just if you hate me, please just hate me. People have called my mother and threatened to kill her, they’ve gotten her phone number, they’ve attacked a child. Attacked her? I just say please just let this be me. Let this be about me. It is nothing about my family, it’s about me. It’s not about anyone else.
This is my sorry.
There’s another part of this story that like I don’t know if you all know, but me, and Gabriel, and Nikita and Manny took a picture with our middle fingers up. And we were trying to mimic Kylie Jenner’s birthday picture. And the picture was taken out of context. And it ended up causing pain you know for other people.
And I just wanted to say that I’m sorry to Jeffree [Star] for the pain we may have caused you in this. I didn’t know that that picture was going to be taken out of context and that anything was going to be said to you. But at the end of the day, it was done. So I need to owe you an apology for this. And I know we’re not friends anymore, but I want to apologize to you.
Thank you guys for giving me some time and I love you guys. I understand that I just need some time now. I love you guys so much. And I’m sorry.
Laura Lee’s Second Apology Video:
Hey guys. I know I haven’t been on YouTube or any social media for a little over a month now. I wanted to come back to YouTube with this video to talk to you guys about a couple of things. First off, I want to say I’ve missed you guys so so so much. Second of all, I want to talk to you guys a little bit about my apology video, which was the last video that I had posted on my channel and I owe you guys a sincere apology. In that video, I come off more as a victim. I am not a victim in any way, form, or fashion in this situation. I’m taking the video down because it doesn’t represent me well. I’m not taking it down the video down to try to hide it from you guys or pretend it didn’t happen. I know the video is literally all over the internet so if you guys wanted to see it, you totally could. I’m taking it off my channel because it does not represent the human being that I am today. And in the video, you guys are seeing more of a reaction on the situation than you did even a response. And I hope that makes sense to you guys. That is my reasoning for taking it down.