Willy Wonka, a huge TikTok star with 14 million followers on the app, has responded to accusations of racism after uploading a video that many argued amounted to an offensive stereotype of Hispanic people.
Willy Wonka – real name Duke Depp – received backlash across TikTok on Twitter after he uploaded a video making light of Spanish culture before deleting it with seemingly no further comment.
The video was a response to the question of whether he speaks Spanish. It depicted him eating salsa and nachos while traditional Spanish music played in the background.
The video in turn received a lot of backlash from fans, with users on TikTok expressing their disappointment. One user said that they “weren’t going to forget about this one”, while another despaired that they were “rooting for” Wonka before this video came out.
While users on Twitter moved to defend Wonka – with several claiming that he was “just having fun”, another explained that the reason he was experiencing backlash wasn’t for speaking the Spanish language, but for the way he employed Spanish stereotypes into the video.
One user said: “[I]magine if he did it in Chinese while eating rice and playing Mulan on the background it is kinda messed up ain’t it? [sic]”
Hear me out tho the problem isn’t that he spoke Spanish it’s that he used stereotypes on his video imagine if he did it in Chinese while eating rice and playing Mulan on the background it is kinda messed up ain’t it ?
— PapaConda (@CondaPapa) October 2, 2020
WillyWonkaTikTok responds to backlash
Eventually, after fans on TikTok criticized him for “deleting the video and saying nothing”, the 19-year-old from Utah later apologized for the video in the comments of a TikTok and on Twitter.
In the apology, which is the same across both platforms, he says that he is “so so sorry” about the video, and that “[l]ooking back on the video now [he] absolutely understand[s] why the video was wrong.”
I am so so sorry about my “spanish speaking video” on Tiktok. Looking back on the video now I absolutely understand why the video was wrong. To anyone who I hurt with the video I apologize, and I promise to be better.
— Willy Wonka Tiktok / Duke (@WonkaTiktok) October 1, 2020
He leaves with a pr0mise to be “better”, but for many people this still wasn’t enough.
TikTok user Tyler Stone uploaded a video slamming his “half-assed” apology, while another user said in the video comments that he should “just make an apology video” if he truly wants to make things right.
@tylersstonedi’m not trynna be a savior but this is messed up and you need to be held accountable. @willywonkatiktok ##greenscreenvideo ##fyp ##hispanic♬ original sound – Tyler Stone
His apology also raised the question of who the apology was for, with one user mocking how people were “saying it’s okay and ya’ll aren’t even Hispanic [sic]”, while another on Twitter said that “if you aren’t Hispanic, you have NO opinion on if it’s okay to do that.”
if you aren’t hispanic, you have NO opinion on if it’s okay to do that. it’s stereotypical to us hispanics which is pretty close to racist so please understand more about stereotyping races or keep your mouth shut when it’s not your race❤️
— ♡ mikayla ♡ am (@quaradize) October 2, 2020
Meanwhile, on Instagram, users moved to defend Wonka. Several users said that although they were of Hispanic heritage, they didn’t find the video offensive, while another user said that they “feel like cancel culture just like to cancel people.”
However, one Instagram user argued that “nobody was trying to cancel him”, and that people are “just tryna hold him accountable.”
Whatever you think of the video, let’s hope that Wonka is able to learn from this situation.