TikTok star Zoe Laverne is facing backlash from fans after an older video surfaced that showed the influencer lipsyncing a racial slur — and her response to the video going viral is earning her some scrutiny, too.
Zoe Laverne is a divisive name within the TikTok community, having come under fire in the past for her response to Charli D’Amelio surpassing her in followers (which coined a priceless meme in the process).
However, despite her tumultuous breakup with fellow influencer Cody Orlove, Laverne is coming under scrutiny for a video that resurfaced in early September, which showed her lipsyncing to Nicki Minaj’s verse in the 2018 song ‘Motorsports.’
Unfortunately for Laverne, this particular verse contains a racial slur, which she can be seen lipsyncing in footage that has since gone viral online.
zoe laverne skip b word say n word pic.twitter.com/NIyH0Pd5jj
— ☂︎ kaywee ☂︎ (@t0ychic4) September 3, 2020
Needless to say, the TikToker quickly received ample criticism for the divisive clip — but it seems that her response to the drama is catching her more flak than the original video, itself.
In a statement responding to the issue, Laverne claimed that such language was common among creators during the time in which she uploaded the clip, which she claimed was in 2016 (although Motorsports itself was released in 2018).
“It’s a lipsync, baby,” she said. “In 2016 musical.ly, everybody on musical.ly — a lot of people did it, because it wasn’t like… it wasn’t a big deal back then. It was just like, okay, cool.”
Not zoe laverne normalizing saying the n word in 2016 pic.twitter.com/gOWOIxDFo8
— ┊͙ ʟᴏʀᴇɴxɪᴀ ? (@lorenxiaa1) September 5, 2020
Critics have since accused the TikToker of “normalizing” the use of such language and are taking issue with her seemingly nonchalant attitude toward the entire fiasco.
“Not Zoe Laverne saying that lipsynching the n-word back in the musically days was ‘totally fine’ because ‘everyone did it!’” one Twitter user quipped.
not zoe laverne saying that lipsynching the n word back in the musically days was “totally fine” because “everyone did it”!!!! ?
— amirah (@AVANISBLCKLIGHT) September 5, 2020
“Zoe Laverne really just said on live that her lipsyncing the n-word in a musical.ly in 2016 doesn’t make her racist,” another chimed in. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but LIPSYNCING THE N WORDS SHOWS YOU HAD THE INTENTION OF SAYING IT, REGARDLESS IF IT CAME OUT YOUR MOUTH, PHYSICALLY OR NOT.”
zoe laverne really just said on live that her lipsyncing the N word in a musical ly in 2016 doesn't make her racist
correct me if I'm wrong but
LIPSYNCING THE N WORDS SHOWS YOU HAD THE INTENTION OF SAYING IT REGARDLESS IF IT CAME OUT YOURE MOUTH PHYSICALLY OR NOT
— court| fan²⁸ (@touharvs) September 4, 2020
While this is far from the first time a TikToker has faced backlash for seemingly using a slur, Laverne marks the latest in a string of such cases across the platform.