YouTuber Niki DeMartino has issued an apology to fans after they called her out for posting controversial and insensitive TikTok video about the current coronavirus pandemic. For those who missed it, the 24-year-old recently posted a since-deleted clip to the video sharing app of herself and a friend getting their nails done while wearing masks. The song “It’s Corona Time” played in the background.
Upon watching the TikTok video, some people immediately took to social media and slammed Niki for going out in public while health officials are calling for “social distancing.” Others accused her of being “insensitive” and “racist” against Asians since the video seemingly perpetuated negative stereotypes that have occurred toward Asian Americans during the coronavirus outbreak.
For those who missed it, the World Health Organization has reported that more than 227,000 people have contracted the coronavirus so far, resulting in more than 9,000 deaths. Medical professionals have called for “social distancing” to prevent further spreading of the illness, which is defined as “trying to keep yourself away from other people, especially large crowds.” Because of this many events, concerts, award shows, conventions and festivals have been canceled, including all Broadway plays and sports games. People are urged to stay indoors and isolate themselves during this time.
At first, the internet star took to Twitter and explained her actions.
“I thought it was funny showing me, my friend, and the nail lady all wearing masks that she gave us, but I understand how people would get offended at this. It seems very insensitive but this wasn’t my attention at all,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet. Then added, “I understand, it was immature and insensitive. sometimes you guys gotta keep me in check… I have a lot of airhead moments and with my platform I need to be more careful.”
Then, on March 18, Niki addressed the entire situation in a video uploaded to her YouTube channel. The influencer explained that by recording the video, she was following a TikTok trend and didn’t realize how it would come off to her followers.
“I would have done that video regardless who was doing my nails,” she explained. “I see everyone equally so I truly didn’t see the problem ‘til someone texted me.”
Niki shared screenshots of her text conversations with a friend who said she looked “privileged.” She admitted to thinking that the issue with her video was that she had gone out in public, but ended up realizing that it was much more than that. The social media star said she has taken “accountability” for her actions.
“If I’m going to have this platform, I need to understand the position I’m in and I can’t be so thoughtless and impulsive and dumb when doing something for humor,” she said. “I am truly sorry if I’ve offended anyone that has followed me or anyone that has seen that video that doesn’t follow me and that’s what they know me for…I did this to myself, I didn’t think before I posted.”
She continued, “I’ll apologize for my mistake, but I’m not racist and I know who I am and it is what it is.”
Love J-14? Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for fun, exclusive videos with your favorite stars.