Entertainment

Zoe Laverne under fire for response to TikTok of her using racial slur

Published: 7/Sep/2020 21:46 Updated: 7/Sep/2020 21:47

by Virginia Glaze

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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.

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.”

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.

“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.”

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.

Overwatch

Former Overwatch pro Ryuhejong suspended from Gen.G following Twitch drama

Published: 19/Jan/2021 21:43

by Bill Cooney

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Former Overwatch League star Jehong ‘Ryujehong’ Ryu has been suspended from the Gen.G organization after reportedly making sexist comments on stream.

Widely regarded as one of the best Ana and flex support players around, Ryujehong is a familiar name to any Overwatch esports fan. He was one of the most popular players in OWL before stepping away from the competitive scene after the Vancouver Titans nuked their roster back in May 2020.

On January 11, 2021, Gen.G announced that RJH would be joining their org as a content creator, which makes sense, as he was a figurehead for the org’s Seoul Dynasty squad during the League’s first two seasons.

Following what was a very short honeymoon period, the Korean-based org has now suspended Ryu for sexist comments he made on stream that quickly caught the attention of social media, as you can see below:

On January 16, Jehong streamed alongside a female streamer named Haegi, and reportedly made a number of sexist comments towards her multiple times, and even called her out for interrupting him, claiming that women shouldn’t interrupt men.

Since the stream happened the VOD has been deleted, but this is the internet, and the comments were quickly translated into English, kicking off the storm of social media backlash.

On January 19, Gen.G’s Chief Operating Officer Arnold Hur announced that the org was suspending Ryujehong “indefinitely” due to his on stream-comments.

“I’m personally very disappointed in the language used during the stream by Jehong. He was wrong, and I find it uncharacteristic of the person I knew who has always been a considerate, kind-hearted teammate,” Hur wrote. “Our belief is that whether you are a player or streamer, anybody with a platform should understand the responsibility of the higher standards that come with it. As such, we have suspended all of Jehong’s team-related activities indefinitely.”

Like Hur mentioned, Jehong did put out an apology of his own after the firestorm started, where he apologized for what he said, and promised to watch how he speaks in the future, but added he won’t be censoring himself either, according to a translation provided by @hannahhycho on Twitter.

“I am trying to move my streams towards the streamer Ryujehong. I know there are many people who used to watch my old streams who are struggling to adjust to the chat and are confused by the fact I will be using ‘streamer memes’ but I hope you can understand,” RJH wrote, according to the translation. “From now on, I will listen to feedback for my streams and chat to develop them further… I saw some messages from people who aren’t my fans and I want to tell them to stop fanning the flames.”

Just in case there weren’t enough wrinkles to this story, Haegi, the female streamer who was broadcasting with Ryujehong when the incident took place, has come out and defended him according to translations by Reddit user Great-Reno, saying they were bantering back and forth and what happened wasn’t what it seemed.

“Why RJH gets all the blame when I made sexist jokes with him either? This is a bit undeserved,” Haegi said in a YouTube video posted after the outrage began, according to the translation. “I’m cool with it. Why does it matter when the person involved with the matter feels okay? I don’t see why people get offended by this. Live in comfort please.”

Opinion from the female streamer that RJH was with from Competitiveoverwatch

Now, even if it just was some friendly banter back and forth, the kind of language Ryujehong apparently used just doesn’t fly when you’re signed to a major esports org like Gen.G, and is also a huge disappointment to the greater Overwatch community who saw him as a role model, and just a genuine, stand-up dude.

It remains to be seen when or if RJH will return from his suspension to being an active member of Gen.G.