Dance Moms alum and survivor of Abby Lee Miller Maddie Ziegler has been famous since she was a young child. Unfortunately, she has not always been wise.
Now, she is emphatically apologizing for racist mistakes that she made in the past.
“There are a few videos some of you have seen,” Maddie Ziegler begins her lengthy apology on Twitter.
She explains that these throwback videos are “from when I was about 9 years old.”
Maddie laments that these are videos “where I thought it was funny to mock people and accents.”
“I’m honestly ashamed and I’m truly sorry for my actions.” Maddie expresses sincerely.
Additionally, she affirms that the choice to make such jokes, let alone record them, “are absolutely not decisions I would make today.”
That is growth.
“What I thought was silly humor when I was younger,” Maddie laments, “I know was actually ignorant and racially insensitive.”
None of us are born knowing this, but parroting a “funny” accent can reinforce negative racial stereotypes. It is racist, even when done without bad intentions.
Maddie acknowledges: “We have all made mistakes in our lives and learn to be better people.”
Maddie of course hopes that fans recognize that she has “grown up” since she made those videos.
That said, she knows that, as a famous person, she is held to higher standards because she can be influential.
“I know some of you are hurt,” Maddie writes, “and may not accept my apology.”
“But,” Maddie’s apology continues, “I want to ask all of you to please be kind to each other on socials.”
She singles out her fans and would-be defenders in particular with her next request.
“There is no need to attack each other or try to defend me,” Maddie pleads.
“I don’t want anyone to feel bullied,” Maddie emphasizes.
“And,” she adds, she would like to “think we can all learn from my mistakes.”
She hopes that people will learn “and spread love during these times when we need it most.”
The reason that the topic of “cancel culture” is so divisive is because different people use it to mean wildly different things.
“Canceling” a teenage minor over poor choices when she was 9 would be so absurd that it is downright comical.
Meanwhile, holding Abby Lee Miller accountable for racist statements made as a grown adult on the platform that made her famous is very different.
Not only is the age difference extremely different, but there is a measure of harm that is a question.
Someone parroting harmful jokes or repeating bad accents that they heard on TV is not good, but they can grow and change once they understand what they did.
While someone who said vicious and racist things to children, their parents, and to producers can change, the harm that they did was more direct and lasting.
It is up to each individual person, particularly within marginalized groups targeted by racism, to determine whether they are okay with someone.
Sexual predators and Nazis don’t get a pass. But someone who has simply made mistakes can, in time, gain acceptance.
Maddie’s apology was correct and thorough. We are glad that she has grown into a wiser, more tasteful almost-adult.