Comedienne Jess Hilarious recently came under fire after she appeared to play a part in having four Sikh men removed from a flight on Sunday, because they made her “nervous.” According to a video she posted on social media, Jess seems to have misidentified the Sikh men as Muslim.
After facing intense backlash for her comments, including a follow up apology in which she once again mistakenly identified the Sikh men as Muslim (the internet was quick to point out that it shouldn’t have mattered, regardless) the Rel star appeared to have had a change of heart. She took to social media once again on Monday, where she issued a full-throated apology for her actions.
Taking to her personal Instagram page, a sniffling and seemingly teary-eyed Jess posted a video captioned, "Official Statement Regarding Sikh & Muslim Community. Please don't believe everything you see and hear, this is what it really is."
"So, naturally, in my previous post, I was defensive, but that's what happens when you don't take the time to really know what's transpiring," she said in the clip. "In understanding the error of my actions, I have to first acknowledge the rooted issues, which means racially profiling a group of individuals based on their appearance and on top of that — publicizing it on a platform where others can be hurt by it and other were hurt from it."
The social media comic-turned-actress went on to share that several members of the Sikh community, which she directly addressed and offended in her actions, reached out to her and offered to educate her. She further promised to donate $15,000 to the families who have been affected in the recent New Zealand tragedy, several of whom are a part of the Muslim faith. Again, though she initially misidentified the Sikh men as Muslim, many on social media pointed out that her fear-based stereotyping was especially damaging following the murder of more than 50 Muslims at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand that weekend.
"I'm not sure if these particular individuals that were on the plane are aware of my actions by now," she said. "Either way, I would love to apologize personally to them first, for my insensitive and ignorant behavior... I just want to make people laugh. Bear with me. I'm still learning."
Take a look at her full apology, below:
BET.com reached out to Jess Hilarious' team for comment, but they declined as of this publishing.
Prior to her sudden change of heart, Jess infuriated the social media community with her offensive and immensely ignorant actions.
After initially facing intense social media backlash, the Baltimore native (real name Jess Moore) took to her Instagram Story to refute some of the allegations, and to claim she’s “not racist” and has “Muslims in her family.” She also says she was unaware there are different types of Muslims and indicated that she wants more informed people on the Internet to “teach me” about where she went wrong. One lesson folks were quick to point out is that Sikhs are not Muslims.
To recap the messy ordeal, the incident began when Jess made an IG post about how she felt “nervous” about the four men, who wore turbans, being on her flight and that no one could blame her for “being scared,” describing how she “saw 4 people of that caliber” and reverted “back to the past.”
View this post on Instagram
#JessHilarious kinda apologizes for an offensive post she made about Muslim men boarding her flight. However, she states it’s “their fault” that she is prejudiced towards them. The video has since been deleted. I’d like to point out that 50 Muslim people have just been murdered & another 40 were wounded in New Zealand solely for their religious beliefs & the timing of her public ignorance is disgusting. I’d further like to point out that far more terrorist attacks have been committed by white men than Muslim men and I’m sure their presence on the plane gave her no pause at all. But ... have a good Saturday, guys. 🙃
After the incident and while in the airport waiting for another flight, she let off a tirade on her Instagram Story about the incident and came for those criticizing her for the insensitive comments. According to Jess, the four men were removed by Homeland Security after she told a flight attendant about them.
“If I’m scared, I’m scared, f**k y’all, f**k how y’all feel,” she said during her IG video. “Y’all mad at me ‘cause I don’t side with every other Black person, ‘cause I don’t side with every other race. F**k y’all, I feel how I feel. I felt threatened and that was it.”
A day after Muslims were ambushed and murdered while praying, Jess Hilarious hops on the internet to brag about+defend getting 4 people with turbans kicked off a flight because she didn’t feel safe. pic.twitter.com/GFcKF5p2jd— MB (@babyitsmb) March 17, 2019
Twitter then clapped back heavy. Many on social media accused Jess Hilarious of being Islamophobic and the very unfortunate timing of her comments as they come just a day after the white supremacist terrorist massacre of 51 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. Others also pointed out that the men she was scared of weren’t even Muslim, but rather Sikh, a completely different religion derived primarily from India.
Video also surfaced of the comedian walking behind the Sikh men and snickering at them as everyone de-boarded the plane.
Hopefully Jess is paying attention to some of the more constructive criticism on social media and learning that fear based on religion is unfounded.
Photo: FOX via Getty Images