After being under fire for saying that she felt uncomfortable by Sikh men being on a plane she had just boarded, comedian Jess Hilarious has issued an apology.
Yesterday (Mar. 18), in a four-minute and 20-second video on Instagram, the comedian read from her phone her statement that she said she wrote herself.
“Hey y’all what’s going on? I know the situation that I’m in now. It’s had my head f***ed up, as it should. So I’ve been choked up about it. It’s really been bothering me that there’s being a picture painted of me like I’m a xenophobe or I’m racist or prejudice. So I wrote a statement, and I wrote this myself. Sorry, I didn’t go hire a publicist to get me through this or write it for me, but I feel like nobody can say what I want to say like me. I don’t need nobody talking for me, so here it goes,” she said.
“Naturally, in my previous post I was defensive, but that happens when you don’t take the time to really know what’s transpiring. In understanding the error of my actions I have to first acknowledge the rooted issues, which means racially profiling a group of individuals based on their appearance. And on top of that, publicizing it on a platform where others could be hurt by it and others were hurt from it. The feeling of anger and hurt about the situation is very familiar to me, especially being a black woman, so I should definitely empathize more with being racially profiled. On top of that, the climate that this country is in that didn’t do nothing but add fuel to a wildfire that we’re still trying to contain. I’m not sure if these particular individuals that were on the plane are aware of my actions by now, but either way, I would love to apologize personally to them first for my insensitive and ignorant behavior. Yet, I still would like to apologize to all of you who were aware and offended by actions. Sadly, I had no knowledge of the tragedy in New Zealand until after my video, which doesn’t in any way excuse my behavior. I already know that. Nothing excuses it, but it opened up my eyes to a matter of ignorance as a habit invokes hate. I refuse to teach, spread, or be an advocate for hatred. I just want to make people laugh. Bare with me. I’m still learning.”
The comedian went on to say that she was unaware about Sikhs, and a lot of them reached out to her to educate her.
“I’m ignorant to a lot of sh**. Honestly, I’m young. I’m growing in this sh**. And I don’t understand the power that I have.”
She also said that she didn’t get anyone kicked off a plane regardless of what the blogs reported.
Jess Hilarious said that she’s donating $15,000 to the families in New Zealand, and she will post links later in case anyone else wants to donate.
“I’m sorry to the Sikhs. I’m sorry to the Muslims. I’m sorry to that person the plane because one thing I’ve never been is a person who bashed religion,” she said. “A person that bashes other races. Amongst other things, I’m sorry. I apologize wholeheartedly.”
“Thank you to those who reached out to teach me, and I will do better,” she concluded.
The Rel actress recently received scrutiny because her comments also came just days after a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand took place, which left 50 people dead and 50 others wounded, according to Essence.
In videos that are now deleted, the comedian and actress said,” F*** y’all, I feel how I feel. I felt threatened and that was it. F*** y’all…N***** know I’m never f***ing racist, but I spotted something, and I put it out earlier and we just got evacuated from our plane.”
Later on, the Baltimore native offered an apology on her Instagram story.
“Look y’all I’m not racist and never have I ever been,” she said. “We have Muslims in my family however I was totally unaware of the different types of Muslim so yes I admit I’m ignorant to the facts so teach me.”
“I got no one put off the f***in’ plane,” Jess Hilarious clarified. “I didn’t even say sh** to anyone else on the f***in’ plane about how I felt! Again I’m sorry to ALL Muslims… deeply sorry! But I am not a racist loves.”
People took to social media to call out the comedian for her xenophobic comments and ignorance.
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan