Twenty One Pilots Joseph Tyler, accused of racism after resurfaced tweets, plays guitar wearing a ski mask.

Milan Risky/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Twenty One Pilots frontman blasted after racist tweets resurface

In one resurfaced post, he said he 'speaks slightly ghetto' around Black people.


Angelica Arinze

Internet Culture

Posted on Dec 7, 2020   Updated on Dec 7, 2020, 4:37 pm CST

Twenty One Pilots frontman Tyler Joseph is facing backlash after old tweets resurfaced that fans and critics say are racist.

As the Black Lives Matter took a stronghold over the summer after nationwide protests following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, many were calling on celebrities to use their platforms to advocate for the movement. Joseph, 32, was among these celebrities.

But on Monday, fans and critics were lambasting Joseph for what they say is a history of racist social media posts. One resurfaced tweet originally posted on Sept. 2 particularly drew ire. In the now-deleted post, Joseph shared photos of himself wearing white platform shoes in response to people asking him to “use his platforms” to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Fans shared other screenshots of Joseph’s old posts with explicit or implicit racism. In one tweet, Joseph wrote that he speaks “slightly ghetto” when he’s around Black people. In an Instagram comment on a photo of his niece, who is Black, wearing a Snow White costume, Joseph wrote “Snow Black.”

“His blatant racism didn’t start with the platform tweet, and it sure as hell isn’t going to end there,” one user tweeted on Monday. 

After the backlash to the September “platforms” tweet, Joseph seemed to fan the flames when he tweeted about mental health awareness. He has not tweeted since then. Some fans said the response was meant to deflect criticism or cover up his wrongdoing.

In an apology statement at the time, Joseph said the “platforms” tweet “wasn’t suppose [sic] to be about human rights” and he’s “truly sorry if he hurt anyone.”

But for some, that wasn’t enough. One user alleged that Ashley Dun, the sister of Joseph’s bandmate Josh Dun, liked a tweet acknowledging his racist behavior.

In addition, there’s conflict within the fandom, as many are accusing non-Black fans of defending Joseph and speaking over Black fans. Meanwhile, fans who are defending Joseph say he isn’t racist because that he already apologized and he posted a “#JusticeforFloyd” graphic on his Instagram story.

Many of Joseph’s Black fans are calling out so-called “clikkies,” a word for fans who are coming to Joseph’s defense despite his history of racism. “Black people aren’t obligated to forgive Tyler for his statement and his shitty crowd control apology,” one user tweeted.

As of Monday afternoon, Joseph hadn’t responded to the renewed discussion about his history of alleged racism.

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*First Published: Dec 7, 2020, 4:06 pm CST