YouTube star Kian Lawley has been fired from the upcoming film adaptation of “The Hate U Give” after a recently resurfaced video shows him making racist remarks.
“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,” a Twentieth Century Fox Films spokesperson told Variety.
In a 12-second bleeped video on YouTube that made the internet rounds last month, Lawley is heard using a racist slur and other racially offensive comments. “We’re all black drinking purple Kool-Aid and eating Kentucky fried motherfucking chicken,” he says in the clip.
Lawley was set to star as the boyfriend of Amandla Stenberg’s character in the adaptation of the beloved and critically acclaimed young-adult novel written by Angela Thomas. “The Hate U Give” centers around the story of a 16-year-old girl who feels torn between the worlds of her poor and mostly black neighborhood, and the suburban prep school she attends. She later witnesses the murder of her childhood friend at the hands of a police officer.
Issa Rae, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, and Common are also attached to the project.
Lawley has formally apologized for the video, and said he agrees with the studio’s decision to drop him from the film.
“Words have power and can do damage. I own mine and I am sorry. 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,” Lawley told Variety in a statement. “I understand the impact and I have grown and learned since then. From now on I plan to use my voice for positive change.”
Earlier in the week, he addressed the controversy on social media, where he’s amassed more than 6 million followers.
Thomas, barraged by Lawley fans on social media, also responded to the recasting, writing, “the past two weeks have been hell for me, but I’m the enemy. Y’all. I’ve been trying. You just don’t know.”
The author explained that she’s been “hurt severely” and there is a “ton of pain” associated with the uproar.
Fans of the author have since come to her defense, attempting to shift the narrative to a celebration of Thomas’ breakout novel. The hashtag #AngieThomasAppreciationDay is now trending on social media.
A representative for Twentieth Century Fox Films did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.