A beauty influencer is apologizing for saying the N-word in 2017 after people recently threatened to boycott her nail-polish brand
- YouTuber Kathleen Lights said the N-word in a 2017 Snapchat video.
- She shared an apology via Instagram Tuesday after people started to boycott her nail-polish brand.
- Now, some members of the online beauty community say they aren't fully convinced by the apology.
Members of the online beauty community quickly expressed confusion in response to the video. The incident occurred years earlier, and Fuentes - who goes by Kathleen Lights online - had issued an apology at the time.
Now, beauty fans are grappling to understand if Fuentes was trying to share a genuine reflection on her past, or if she was potentially apologizing to stop people from boycotting her nail-polish brand, Lights Lacquer.
Kathleen Lights was recorded saying the N-word in 2017
The original Snapchat video showing Fuentes saying the N-word was posted by fellow YouTuber Jaclyn Hill as they played video games together. At the time, Fuentes responded to the clip in two tweets.
"Please understand I'm not racist," she wrote. "Never have been. I didn't say it out of hate or to be offensive. It was truly a mistake. That's not me. I just hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me."
—Kathleen Lights (@KathleenLights1) September 2, 2017
—Kathleen Lights (@KathleenLights1) September 2, 2017
She also posted a note to Instagram, in which she said she was drunk when she said the slur. Fuentes also noted that she can be heard saying "don't post that" in the video because she said she "knew instantly how wrong it was."
She apologized for the 2017 incident for a second time over Instagram
The influencer addressed the incident on Tuesday, sharing an apology via her Instagram story.
Fuentes started her video by saying she wanted to "finally address the situation in a meaningful and authentic way," which she felt was "so long overdue."
"A few years ago, a video was posted of me saying the N-word, and I want to make it very clear that there is never an appropriate scenario in which to say a racial slur ever. Period." Fuentes said. "There are absolutely no excuses for it. I was extremely wrong, and honestly, I'm incredibly sorry."
"I'm equally disappointed, though, in the way I handled that situation in 2017, because I feel like I didn't take full responsibility," she continued. "I didn't own my part, and I didn't appropriately apologize for my actions, which is why I wanted to sit down and just take full ownership and truly apologize today, because that word should have never ever come out of my mouth."
The influencer went on to say she "never took the time to fully understand the gravity" and pain caused by the slur, and added that she's learned "so much" in the years since. She also apologized to the Black community and promised to never say the word again. The video of her apology is still available to watch on Fuentes' Instagram page at the time of writing.
In an email sent to Insider, Fuentes reiterated her Instagram apology, saying she's "genuinely embarrassed" and "incredibly sorry" for her actions.
Some beauty fans are questioning the timing of the apology
After the internet drama page Here For The Tea later reposted Fuentes' video, some beauty fans expressed confusion in the comments section and suggested the influencer may have shared an apology now to stop a boycott of her nail-polish brand.
"Four years later?? Really???" one person wrote.
As other commenters noted, members of the internet nail community recently started calling on the influencer to hold herself accountable for her past actions, threatening to boycott her nail-polish brand if she didn't. Others said a member of a private Facebook group called The Light Squad recently created a post about the 2017 incident, which was, according to members, swiftly deleted by administrators of the page.
In an email sent to Insider, a representative for Fuentes and her brand described the Facebook group as a private space "for fans of Kathleen and her brands," but did not share any specific information about the post in question.
"It has always been in our community guidelines and rules for admins to approve comments and discussions in the group," the representative said. "Our guidelines and rules are designed to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and healthy dialogue and discourse mandated."
They added: "This is critical to ensure that all participants communicate with kindness to ensure everyone feels safe and heard. Bullying or foul language of any kind is not tolerated, and those comments will always be removed. With that said, there is a very respectful dialogue about Kathleen's recent video apology going on in the group that is healthy, honest, and within guidelines. The objective is to maintain and preserve healthy communication for the entire community."
The representative also told Insider over email that Fuentes has been "thoroughly humbled by both the support and the deserved criticism she's received since this situation unfolded in 2017," and added that "her motivation" for sharing the recent apology was "to take full accountability and responsibility" for her actions.
"Kathleen fully respects and understands that people have every right to draw their own conclusions and decide accordingly whether they want to forgive her, however, she knew for her to continue to evolve as a leader and a human, Kathleen needed to address this head-on, own her part, and continue to educate herself to be a better listener, learner, and ally, as she shared in her message," they said. "She is committed to continued growth, continued education regarding the injustices that the black community continues to face, and authentically being part of the solution."
Some Black members of the internet beauty community aren't all convinced by the influencer's recent apology
Cherita Gaskin, a California-based YouTuber who makes commentary videos, told Insider that she first heard about Fuentes saying the N-word through drama channels in 2017. She doesn't consider herself a fan of Fuentes or her nail polish but said she's still familiar with her and occasionally watches her videos.
"My first reaction was 'this girl uses this word all the time,'" she told Insider about the 2017 video. "It rolled off of her tongue way too easily. It wasn't heartbreaking because I didn't think there was any malice behind it, but it was just disappointing."
Gaskin noted that while Fuentes apologized at the time, she wasn't convinced that she "felt bad" about her actions. Instead, she felt Fuentes was addressing the situation because "she had to."
"I believe the apology has to be just as loud as the disrespect, but her apology wasn't on YouTube where most of her fans are," Gaskin said.
Tanesha Sherrill, a Nashville-based YouTuber, told Insider that shortly after the 2017 video was released, she felt the situation was "quickly forgotten and swept under the rug by non-Black people who accepted an apology not meant for them."
"The same thing happened today when she apologized," Sherrill said about Fuentes' recent apology. "It's frustrating because there's no real accountability when fans behave that way. What reason would someone have to learn and grow when their supporters excuse their bad behavior?"
Both Gaskin and Sherrill noted that while Fuentes sounded sincere to them in her recent video, they're still confused as to why she addressed the situation years later.
"I would like to believe it was a genuine apology, but that's about as far as I can go," Gaskin said. "I guess I could say I can forgive her, but my eyes and my ears will always be open. She doesn't get a pass."
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