YouTuber and boxer KSI has apologised for using a racist slur in a recent video.
The 29-year-old internet personality, real name Olajide “JJ” Olatunji, said he was taking a break from social media as he had been “messing up a lot” of late.
The four-letter slur, referring to people of Pakistani origin, was used during a video made with his collective of YouTubers, The Sidemen.
Their Countdown-inspired game show saw him give the word as an attempt using his available letters.
After facing criticism, he tweeted: “I wanna apologise for saying a racial slur in a recent Sidemen video. There’s no excuse, no matter the circumstances, I shouldn’t have said it and I’m sorry.
“I’ve always said to my audience that they shouldn’t worship me or put me on a pedestal because I’m human. Im not perfect, I’m gonna mess up in life, and lately I’ve been messing up a lot.
“So I’ve decided I’m gonna just take a break from social media for a while.”
The video has since been removed from The Sidemen YouTube channel.
DJ and presenter Bobby Friction was among those who criticised KSI, tweeting: “I had this racial slur thrown at me & got physical beats by racists for my entire childhood.”
He added: “People dehumanising brown people like it normal.”
Teacher and broadcaster Mehreen Baig said it was “horrifically disappointing from KSI and his crew”.
She added: “So many of my students look up to these guys and they’re casually throwing around a word that has consistently been used to bully and attack South Asians.
“This isn’t comedy.”
A statement from The Sidemen posted on Twitter said: “During yesterday’s ‘Sidemen Sunday’ a racial slur was said during the video.
“We accept that it was completely unacceptable and inexcusable. The fact the incident was made light of on the show was wrong and compounded the hurt. We deeply regret this and would like to truly apologise.
“We have reflected on this incident both collectively and individually and are truly ashamed that we let ourselves and you guys down in this way.
“We want to use our channels to promote positivity and great entertainment. We stand against racism and discrimination of any kind and we failed to do that.
“Again, we are truly sorry and promise to do better.”
KSI has more than 24 million subscribers on YouTube and 8.8 million followers on Twitter.
His boxing bouts with US YouTuber Logan Paul in August 2018 and November 2019 were among the most-watched events in the platform’s history.
In July 2021, his second album All Over The Place went to number one in the UK.
This is not the first time he has apologised for his language.
In March 2021 he apologised for using “transgender slurs” in the past, telling his Twitter followers: “Honestly didn’t even know they were slurs. I know now though.”
Representatives of KSI have been contacted for comment.