Avril Lavigne (who apparently still exists) is taking some serious flack for her new video “Hello Kitty.”
Since the video first appeared on YouTube this past Tuesday (it has since been taken down and re-posted), shaming, angry tweets have abounded, and even the experts haven’t been sure what to make of it — the general consensus seems to be that it might be racist (pandering at best), and it’s definitely terrible.
Billboard magazine’s Jason Lipshutz called the video “an embarrassment in any language,” and Entertainment Weekly‘s Darren Frenich said, “There are serious questions about whether it’s offensive (expressionless Asian dancers, Tokyo-as-prop) or offensively obvious (this one’s for you, large Japanese fanbase!).”
In response to the outpouring of negativity, the singer posted this statement on her Facebook page:
“RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!! I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan. I flew to Tokyo to shoot this video specifically for my Japanese fans, WITH my Japanese label, Japanese choreographers AND a Japanese director IN Japan”
On one hand, the pop singer does have a sizable Japanese fan base, and since the video is geared toward them, we suppose it’s how they feel about it (offended and pandered-to or entertained and appreciated) that matters most. On the other hand, we can’t help but feel that her statement does kind of sound like the justification of that jerk at the bar who makes a culturally insensitive joke and then says, “No, it’s okay; I can say that because my uncle’s first wife was Jewish and I love challah bread.”