ARTS / MUSIC
Chinese music fans call for boycott of US singer Billie Eilish after racist clips surface
Published: Jun 21, 2021 06:19 PM
Singer Billie Eilish Photo: Sina Weibo

Singer Billie Eilish Photo: Sina Weibo

A recent TikTok video featuring a compilation of undated clips of globally famous singer Billie Eilish's has engulfed the "Bad Guy" singer in controversy since she appears to mock Asian accents and use the racist slur "c***k," the latter in particular has upset Chinese fans. 

Though the details of "when and where" concerning the two clips remain unclear, the star's racist behavior quickly sparked the disappointment and anger of netizens in China, where the singer has a large following. 

"I've been her fan ever since her 'Ocean Eyes' period… but I'll quit following her now. What she did makes me feel betrayed, like you give your heart to someone who actually belittles you," Sanni Zhu, a now former Eilish fan in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"I hope it wasn't her, but just someone who looks like her being racist in the video. But whatever the situation was, she is dead to me now," another former fan in Beijing, Su, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Some other netizens noted that they were particularly angry about Eilish's use of the Chinese-specific slur. 

"Who doesn't know the C-word is a term that targets people of Chinese descent? And her mocking of Asian people's accent sounds very much like to me that she was mocking people speaking Cantonese," posted a netizen on Sina Weibo.  

Eilish's hateful behavior toward the Asian community has evoked Chinese netizens' memories of other racist incidents involving popular Western stars.

"I'm getting less surprised by such things, it is not news anymore. Like US model Gigi Hadid previously making slant eyes… I don't know if they really don't know their behavior is insulting, or they just don't care," Luola Wang, a US pop culture fan, told the Global Times on Monday.  

Some angry Chinese netizens proposed that Eilish be added to the list of "stigma celebrities" in China, saying that such stars deserve to be banned in the country and boycotted by Chinese music fans so they lose out on the market. Other well-known figure on the "stigma" list is Stefano Gabbana, the designer of the international brand D&G, which seems to have lost the hearts of Chinese consumers' due to a previous racist advertisement.  

"I remember she [Eilish] announced an Asian tour, a Chinese mainland stop in Shanghai that was supposed to happen in August 2020 if everything was normal. I don't know if she will still see good sales after this incident," said Su. 

While some fans theorized that the video compilation was released as an intentional attack ahead of the release of the star's second studio album Happier Than Ever at the end of July, a large majority of netizens were of the opinion that there was no excuse for her behavior. 

"Whether or not this was before she became famous or not, or someone did it on purpose, it happened. The bad impression of her will be there forever. The internet will remember," said Zhu. 

On Tuesday, Billie Eilish posted an apology on instagram.

"…there's a video edit going around of me when i was 13 or 14 where i mouthed a word from a song that at the time i didn't know was a derogatory term used against members of the asian community…and for that i am sorry," said Eilish.


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