Popular YouTuber IShowSpeed has been slammed with allegations of racism after he repeatedly yelled “konnichiwa” at a Chinese man because he “thought he was Japanese.”
The incident was caught during the 17-year-old’s livestream of the match between Portugal and Switzerland at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday.
A clip of the incident begins with IShowSpeed and the Chinese man looking at the camera. As the Chinese man starts to leave, IShowSpeed stops him and asks why he is wearing an Argentina shirt.
Amid the apparent language barrier, IShowSpeed begins to use the Japanese greeting “konnichiwa.” The Chinese man attempts to correct him multiple times, saying, “No, Chinese! No konnichiwa!”
The Ohio native, however, repeats the greeting multiple times. He then proceeds to yell unintelligible words that some believe were in a mock Asian accent.
“It’s so cool to see racism towards Asians and for this guy to get off scott-free because he’s funny. So f*cking cool. I love it when people say ching chong to me and laugh,” one Twitter user wrote. “F*ck Asian racism and f*ck IShowSpeed.” Another user wrote, “It’s crazy how Black people have enough to deal with and ‘IShowSpeed’ uses his position to make it worse for us. Is not being racist hard?” “They love our women, anime, food, ‘culture,’” Twitch streamer Joey Kaotyk wrote. “But as humans, [I’m] not sure if they give the same respect towards us.” “Here’s my thing with IShowSpeed. I HATE how he’s created this persona that makes it ok for him to do this type of shit cause it’s just a character’ [or] ‘he’s just being funny.’ Racism isn’t a joke. If you can’t get away with saying this kind of stuff on the reg, he shouldn’t either,” another Twitter user wrote.
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Some have defended IShowSpeed against the allegations, with one anonymous user claiming, “I’m 100% Asian and it’s not that deep.” In response, another user wrote, “Damn it’s kinda crazy that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Many of my Asian friends agree this is disrespectful and racist. It doesn’t need to be normalized or accepted.”
IShowSpeed responded to the controversy in a 1.5-minute video. In it, he denies being racist and apologizes “if it came off that way.”
“I wasn’t being racist to him. I promise you,” IShowSpeed says. “I’ve seen him. I thought he was Japanese, so I said, ‘konichiwa.’ I watch a lot of anime.”
He then explains that the unintelligible words he said were a “nickname” Chinese people call him.
“When I found out that he was Chinese, I tried to say the nickname they call me in Chinese. I was just literally talking to a Chinese person, earlier today, at 433, and they said they love me,” the YouTuber claims. “And I love Chinese people, so I tried to say [unintelligible], like, this is a nickname that they call me in China. I promise you.”
He then blames the incident on “adrenaline pushing” and stresses that he “loves other races.”
“If it came off as racist, I promise you, I did not mean it that way. I got adrenaline pushing. I’m making content. Loud streaming. I’m at the World Cup, watching Ronaldo play. Adrenaline pushing,” IShowSpeed explains. “I’d seen him with an Argentina shirt and you know, I just wanted to say, ‘What’s up,’ to him. You know, I love other races. I really didn’t mean to come off as racist.”
As of this writing, IShowSpeed’s apology video has received over 2.8 million views and mixed reactions.