One of TikTok's biggest stars, Nessa Barrett, has apologized after a video she posted dancing to sound of the Quran being read aloud after it was labeled "racist". She says that she was not aware that the audio was a reading from the holy text.
Barrett boasts over 6 million followers on TikTok, and is closely associated with other stars in content houses such as the Hype House, as well as being in a relationship with another popular TikTokker and YouTuber, Josh Richards.
The 17-year-old has since deleted the video, which many called offensive, and has apologized, claiming that neither she or her friend knew the source of the audio.
In an Instagram Live, Barrett defended herself, explaining "My step-siblings and stepmom are from Egypt and all that stuff. I know that it could have been taken offensively."
Her apology did little to quell the criticism though. "Having a Muslim stepmom doesn't justify what you did," one comment read.
Many also doubted that Barrett was unaware that it was from the Quran, as the original caption on the video read "I'm Muslim and I oop-."
Barrett claimed in her Instagram Live that she had simply stumbled upon the audio while browsing the 'For You' page on TikTok, and thought it was "cute."
Barrett's boyfriend Josh Richards commented on the controversy in an Instagram Live, saying "I had no idea what it was either when I first saw the video, I didn't know that was the Quran."
In response to people who said her first apology "wasn't good enough", Nessa released another TikTok to apologize further. "I am truly and deeply sorry to those who I have offended, I love people of all races, religions, shapes, and sizes."
She reiterated that she first saw the video of an "old man" and that if she had "known that it was something so sacred, I would never have used it."
Barrett concluded by saying that the hate she was receiving was "really hard to handle, and it's also coming at my friends and family, which is completely unacceptable, as it was my mistake, and not theirs."
Barrett's second apology video has racked up over 3.4 million views already, and attracted over 60,000 comments, some sympathetic, while others are still unforgiving.