British YouTuber, rapper, and boxer Olajide Williams “JJ” Otunda, better known as KSI has publicly apologized for uttering a racist slur in a Sidemen video.
KSI, who is the co-founder and member of the YouTube channel group “Sidemen”, was found saying the racist slur out loud in one of Sidemen’s most recent videos. The video saw the group of internet personalities take on a “Countdown Challenge” in which they attempt to come up with a nine-letter word.
Already starting the game with a highly controversial team name (The N*****), KSI came up with the four-letter derogatory word Paki, which is used to describe a South-Asian origin person in the UK. He added, “We need points and I do not mean this maliciously.”
The fellow hosts (Chunkz, Filly, and others) found themselves breaking out into uncontrollable laughter as KSI uttered the word “sorry” quite a few times.
KSI and the whole crew got under heavy scrutiny on social media as soon as the clip went viral, resulting in The Sidemen taking the video down within a few hours.
Otunda later came forward and publicly apologized for his actions, as he stated, “There is no excuse, no matter the circumstances, I shouldn’t have said it and I’m sorry.” He’s also announced to have taken a break from social media ever since.
A statement from Sidemen’s official Twitter account read, “During yesterday’s ‘Sidemen Sunday’ a racial slur was said during the video.” “We accept that it was completely unacceptable and inexcusable. The fact the incident was made light of on the show was wrong and compounded the hurt. We deeply regret this and would like to truly apologize.”
“We have reflected on this incident both collectively and individually and are truly ashamed that we let ourselves and you guys down in this way.”
People representing the South-Asian community have come out since and heavily criticized The Sidemen’s actions, suggesting that “people are dehumanizing brown people like it’s normal.” Some believe KSI’s apology to just be a reaction towards the heat he’s received.
At the same time, many called out the remaining Sidemen members for their insensitive response –
KSI coming forward to apologize also has users convinced of him not being a racist, whereas some people believe KSI’s words to be jokes that should be taken as light-hearted comedy.
Notably, this wasn’t the first time KSI has been forced to apologize.
Otunda, who is a boxer by profession, and the co-owner of the energy drink brand Prime, has previously been involved in malicious incidents more than once.
In 2013, KSI was accused of sexism and sexual harassment, when he was heard making lewd comments to women at a gaming conference. In the clip, he was spotted asking a woman about her breast size, before going on to state “I can’t see them?”
In March 2021, KSI was also accused of homophobia as a Twitter user found out that he had misgendered a person in one of his Twitter videos. He was heard saying the word “tranny”. KSI later apologized for the incident, stating, “Honestly didn’t know these were slurs. I know now though.”