On February 5th, Deadline reported that YouTuber Kian Lawley was fired from the upcoming Fox film The Hate U Give after a racist video surfaced on the internet. In the video, which has been censored, Lawley uses racist slurs and stereotypes.
The 12-second video was posted on January 26th via the YouTube account Just Trash. The uploader noted in the comments that the footage is from three or four years ago. The video has been viewed just under 30,000 times since its upload. In the video’s comments section, many viewers have expressed appreciation that Lawley was removed from the film.
The Hate U Give, based on the Angie Thomas novel of the same name, stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr Carter. Starr is caught in the middle of two worlds — the low-income, predominantly black neighborhood she calls home, and her upper-class, mostly white prep school. After witnessing her childhood best friend be gunned down by a police officer, Starr’s world is drastically turned upside down.
Lawley was slated to play Chris, Starr’s boyfriend, and as Deadline notes, he was a late addition to the film.
The video below shows the hateful speech that resulted in Lawley’s termination:
Lawley has responded to the backlash, saying he respects Fox’s decision to remove him from the project.
Although many agreed that Lawley’s removal from the film was justified, his fans have since attacked the studio and author Angie Thomas. Thomas responded to the unfair attacks via Twitter.
Fox plans to recast the role of Chris and reshoot scenes as needed.