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Racist YouTube Star Removed from Movie About Racial Politics

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | February 6, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | February 6, 2018 |


Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give is an outstanding young-adult book, one in which this site has some slight association, only in that we helped expose the fraudulent book that temporarily took the top spot on the NYTimes Bestseller list away from Angie Thomas.

Anyway, like I said: Great book. It’s about a black teenager (who will be played by the phenomenal Amandla Stenberg) who goes to a mostly white private school and chooses not to specifically express her identity as a black person until she witnesses her oldest friend gunned down by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. After that, the once politically apathetic teenager becomes an activist.

In the book, she is also dating a white guy from her school, who is mostly oblivious to her situation until the teenager helps to awaken him to what’s going on. The white boyfriend’s name is Chris. In the movie, Chris was being played by YouTube star Kian Lawley, who you may not be surprised to learn — given his occupation as a “YouTube star” — has made racist jokes in his past, and by his “past,” I mean, like, last week or last month or relatively recently, within the last few years.

Also, there’s no ambiguity about it.

Anyway, 20th Century Fox has made the very wise decision to fire Kian Lawley from the movie, particularly given the subject material of the movie. Not only that, but his scenes will be reshot, and depending on how much they have shot of the film, and how much of his character from the book makes it into the film, that is not necessarily an insignificant number of reshoots.

But also: It is necessary and totally worth it. It’s an important movie and should not be weighed down by this typle of controversy. Kids will be kids and all, but 1) this is clearly a racist kid, and 2) he’s not a kid. He’s 22 years old and certainly old enough to know fucking better.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.