YouTube star Kian Lawley loses movie gig after racist comments
Posted February 6, 2018 1:49 p.m. EST
(CNN) — YouTube star Kian Lawley will not appear in the upcoming adaptation of bestselling young adult novel "The Hate U Give" after a video of Lawley making racist statements began making rounds online.
"Due to the controversy surrounding his past comments and behavior, Kian Lawley will no longer appear in 'The Hate U Give,'" A spokesperson for Twentieth Century Fox Films said in a statement to CNN. "The studio plans to recast the role of Chris and reshoot scenes as needed."
An undated video of Lawley making racist remarks was uploaded late last month by YouTube user Just Trash. Though it has just more than 42,000 views, the video drew enough attention to prompt a response from Lawley two days ago, before he was let go from the film.
"If u don't learn from ur mistakes, u can never grow as a person," he wrote on Twitter. "I've learned a lot & i am grateful to have the power to change."
Lawley has not indicated when the video was filmed.
Lawley was cast in "The Hate U Give," based on the Angela Thomas novel, late last year.
The film stars Amandla Stenberg as lead character Starr Cater, a teen who is growing up in a poor, primarily black neighborhood but attends an affluent prep school with mostly white peers. After she witnesses police shoot her unarmed childhood friend, Starr finds herself in conflict with her two worlds more than ever.
Lawley was set to play Starr's boyfriend in the film.
Following news that he would be replaced in the movie, Lawley said, "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."
"With that being said, I am fully aware of the mistakes I have made and strive every day to become a better me than I was yesterday," he said.
Lawley is the latest YouTube star to find himself in hot water.
YouTuber Logan Paul faced heavy criticism for posting a video last month that included footage of a dead body. The video, which has since been removed, in part showed Paul making comments many deemed offensive about a corpse hanging from a tree in Japan's Aokigahara forest, also known as "suicide forest."
YouTube reprimanded Paul by putting a movie he had in the works with its YouTube Red service on hold and booting him off a web series.
Paul has since apologized.
Lawley has been on YouTube since 2010, having started multiple spin-off and collaborative accounts over the years. His most prominent channel has more than 3.3 million subscribers.
Lawley's other credits include 2017's "Before I Fall" and Go90's "Zac and Mia."