On Monday, February 24, YouTuber Kian Lawley opened up to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat about how he “became a better human” after a past video of him using a racist term surfaced in 2018.

For those who missed it, in 2018, the 24-year-old was set to star in the film adaptation of Angie Thomas‘ young adult novel The Hate U Give alongside Amandla Stenberg. After he was caught using the n-word in a video that hit the web, Kian was fired from the film and replaced with Riverdale‘s KJ Apa. He was also dropped from his talent agency, Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

After the video went viral, Kian issued a statement via Twitter.

“I respect Fox’s decision to recast this role for The Hate U Give as it is an important story, and it would not be appropriate for me to be involved considering the actions of my past,” he wrote at the time. “I understand the impact and I have grown a lot and learned since then.”

Now, Kian has gotten real about how the 2018 scandal has changed him as a person and admitted that he had “messed up” when making the video.

“It was a really big part of my life,” he told Newsbeat. “I’ve never claimed to be perfect and I never want to claim to be perfect. I tried to get through it as best as possible. Not everyone’s gonna be on my side.”

He continued, “I just took everything as it came. I was in the wrong so I didn’t, you know. I didn’t expect anything. I learned a lot…I took a break from YouTube. I took a break to try and re-establish myself, re-find myself and figure out who I was, and who I’ve become since that time in my life. I just took a lot of time to realize and find myself and, you know, become a better human.”

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