YFN/YouTube

He says he didn’t know it was offensive.

The rapper Offset, better known as one-third of Migos, found himself in hot water with fans this week after the release a new music video featuring homophobic language.

On YFN Lucci’s “Boss Life,” Offset raps the following lines: “Pinky ring crystal clear, 40k spent on a private Lear/60k solitaire/I cannot vibe with queers.” Given that the Q in LGBTQ often stands for “queer,” it’s hard for the rapper to claim complete ignorance, but he tried nonetheless Thursday. Offset took to Instagram to explain his lyrics, screenshotting the dictionary’s entry for “queer” as part of his defense.

He wrote:

I didn’t write the line about gay people. I have said before since these issues before that I got love for all people. My passion for fashion has lead me to a lot of gay people around me who I have mad respect for and we are very cool so I’m not in a place where I’m hating like that. When I wrote that I was thinking of words that could rhyme with the others (here, lear, solitaire, bear) and I saw this definition about her having a queer feeling she was being watched and it fit what I was thinking about a stalker creepy paparazzi situation. To me that “queer” I don’t mean someone who’s gay. I mean lame people who film you, post it and stalk you. Lingo that means strange or odd. I M S O R R Y I A P O L O G I Z E I’m offended I offended anybody.

So basically he’s claiming that he meant “spooky” like a stalker. On its own, “I’m offended I offended anybody” isn’t the worst apology a celebrity has issued when it comes to social issues like this, but this isn’t Migos’ first run-in with criticism for homophobic lyrics.

Just last February, the Migos were in a similar position after Rolling Stone interview quoted the group’s reaction to fellow recording artist iLoveMakonnen coming out. At the time they said his out status “undermines his credibility,” calling him “wack.” Migos issued an apology via Twitter at the time and assured fans that their comments had nothing to do with Makonnen’s sexual orientation, but rather with him feeling the need to pretend to be someone he wasn’t. The explanation seemed logical enough, and after months and months of asserting that Migos loves everyone, the controversy seemed to be more or less behind the group.

So why fall into the same trap almost exactly a year later? Jezebel’s Rich Juzwiak had a theory: “There is also the possibility that the cynical lesson Offset learned from the Rolling Stone gaffe is that talking recklessly about gay people yielded multiple opportunities for press. I don’t want to think that someone might think that way, but someone just might and, depending on the priorities at hand, there are very clear reasons to do so within an attention economy.”

In other words: If you leave the situation vague enough, you can apologize for a homophobia gaffe (and get lots of press along the way). It definitely is a cynical take, but it’s also one that starts to seem more feasible as we watch apology cycles become part of people’s marketing plans. At the very least, it’s safe to say this YFN Lucci video has gotten more clicks than it would have otherwise.

Christine Friar

Christine Friar

Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.