Shawn Mendes apologizes for old 'racially insensitive' tweets
Sometimes it seems as though Twitter is a double-edged sword for celebrities. On the one hand, the social media tool has given famous people a link to their fans: an informal space where they can communicate with them as equals, instantly, from almost anywhere in the world.
But the internet isn't written in pencil; it's written in ink. The other side of Twitter, the side that has caused problems for celebrities who haven't chosen their words carefully, means that old tweets from way back can be unearthed and used as ammunition for criticism. Just think of the scandal that hounded James Gunn - when jokes making light of paedophilia were unearthed from his account.
This week, country singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes provoked controversy on social media, after a number of old tweets deemed to be "racially-insensitive" resurfaced. In a recent interview, when questioned about these comments, Mendes apologised for his statements.
The apology occurred when Mendes was attending a Q&A session, and an African-American fan brought up a tweet of Mendes' in which he appeared to have used the N-word to refer to a close acquaintance. The fan stated: "We just kind of want to know why [he said it] because we get a lot of hate for supporting you, knowing that this is your past."
Check out this video of Shawn's recent live performance in San Diego:
Mendes responded: "A lot of things just need to be moved on from, but I also think that the things that [you] saw, like I had friends when I was 14 who would like take my phone and post things of them because they thought it was funny that I had like 2,000 followers and it was this big thing, and they'd post photos of themselves and at the time I was just like not thinking about it."
He continued: "I had no idea I was going to have 50 million followers, which doesn't make it any better. But yeah, totally, I apologize for everything insensitive I said in the past, but with that being said yeah I think that's not my personality."
Some fans appeared to accept Mendes' apology, and believed his contrition to be genuine:
While other social media users thought that the apology wasn't so sincere:
But this isn't the first time that Mendes has been forced to be honest about a personal subject. Recently, the musician was forced to open up about rumours and speculation from fans that he might be gay.