Kian Lawley, the actor cast in the upcoming film The Hate U Give alongside Amandla Stenberg, has been fired after being exposed in a shocking racist video.
The film was already shot and in post-production, when producers made the call to recast Lawley’s character and reshoot his scenes.
“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,” said a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox in a statement.
Lawley, a YouTube star, played the boyfriend of the film’s Black protagonist (played by Amandla Stenberg). The movie is based on the novel of the same name inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The film also stars Issa Rae, Algee Smith, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie and Common.
‘We’re all black drinking purple Kool-aid’
In a clip that surfaced online, Lawley is seen using the N-word in a profanity-laced racist tirade. “We’re all black drinking purple Kool-aid and eating Kentucky fried motherf**king chicken,” he says.
After the clips surfaced on social media, Lawley unsurprisingly received swift backlash with many calling from him to be cut from the project, which was filmed last fall in Atlanta.
The online outrage escalated further after fans of Lawley came to his defense, arguing that people were mad over nothing and that the videos in question were filmed years ago.
Some even tried to change the narrative by blaming, and even threatening The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas.
On Monday, Thomas shared one of countless threatening tweets she received online. In it, one user says it will be her “own damn fault” if she were to get attacked by Lawley’s “fandom.”
“For those who are in the dark about the situation, I’m sorry. All will be revealed eventually. For those who are aware, this is about more than a Tweet,” Thomas tweeted. “Comments like this, directed at me make it worse. I have no control but people who do are watching.”
But Black Twitter got in formation and rode to the celebrated young adult author’s rescue with with an outpouring of positive support using the #AngieThomasAppreciationDay hashtag.
Supporters also called on everyone to not only show love to Thomas by using the hashtag, but they also encouraged them to purchase a copy of her book.
Kian Lawley’s not-so-sorry apology
Following the online outrage, Kian Lawley took to his Twitter account to issue a response.
“if u don’t learn from ur mistakes, u can never grow as a person. i’ve learned a lot & i am grateful to have the power to change,” he tweeted. “i never want to be who i was yesterday. we’re in a constant battle to become a better version of ourselves, use ur voice as ur weapon.”
Lawley’s statement caused mixed reactions. Some fans still believed that he had nothing to apologize for, while critics said his remarks weren’t enough because he didn’t actually say that he was sorry for making the racist videos.
Since being fired, the actor has issued another statement: “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. I understand the impact and I have grown and learned since then. From now on I plan to use my voice for positive change.”