Saying something regrettable and dumb in the moment, especially in front of a lot of people, is always awful. I've put my foot in my mouth a bunch of times and it's never a good feeling — so I do my best to apologize like crazy, and, more often than not, I'm able to ameliorate the situation.
But shooting, editing, and uploading something regrettable to TikTok is a whole other ballgame. Something expelled Georgia High School students, Stephanie Freeman and her boyfriend, learned the hard way.
I never understood YouTubers and other social media folks who put time and effort into making a video with a moronic premise — time that is rife with opportunities to backtrack and not post said video so they don't make a fool of themselves — and they still go through with it. Like Logan Paul's Japanese Suicide Forest bit during his visit to Japan, during which he actually came across a dead body and decided to film it and put it on his account.
Or those throngs of parents who "prank" their kids but are really just participating in child abuse. Before they hit upload, you know they've had a chance to review their actions, yet they still elect to forge ahead and let the entire world know how they're absolutely awful human beings.
You have to think that Stephanie and her boyfriend had that thought pop into their heads before sharing this abhorrent video idea to TikTok — a little voice that squeaked, "Why would you doooo thiiiiiiiis?!"
The Carollton high schoolers filmed a 50-second clip where they demonstrate how to make "n****rs". It was framed like a parody cooking show, and is filled with so many WTF-were-they-even-thinking moments that it's hard to write off the clip as "just a joke." Because it's clear there was no attempt at a joke even being made, unlike some stand-up comedians who attempt to make a greater point about language by utilizing the word in their routine.
It's hard to argue that that's what Stephanie and her BF were going for in their TikTok video. It starts off with her saying, "First we're making," followed by her boyfriend saying, "N****rs."
The man then grabs a cup and pours water into the sink, which he follows up by saying, "Next, we don't have a dad." Both her and Stephanie then wax on about fried chicken, watermelons, making poor life decisions, and robbing "white people."
It's basically a litany of racist talking points that one uncle makes at a barbecue after he's had 17 Bud Lights. TikTok removed the video, but not before folks shared it far and wide and began calling out Stephanie and her boyfriend for their behavior.
The video platform said, "We are committed to promoting a safe and positive app environment for our community...we do not permit hate speech. The behavior in question is a violation of our guidelines, and we remove any such reported content."
It didn't take long for Steph and her BF's school to get wind of the video. The two were succinctly expelled, with the school demonstrating they want the duo to have no affiliation with their institution.
The superintendent of the school district, Mark Albertus, released a statement on behalf of Carrollton City Schools to respond to the outrage that grew after the TikTok video came to light.
Stephanie tried to say sorry on her Instagram page, but the wording of her apology was "problematic" as well, according to many who read it: "I want to apologize for the abhorent video I posted. I know in my heart how wrong it was. My BF is racist and he slowly normalized his racism on me. I believe blacks are human too, made in the image of Christ. I have disapointed God and I want to apologize."
While more than a few eyebrows were raised at her usage of the term, "blacks," it was difficult for some to see her apology as sincere, as she was basically asking those who saw her video not to ruin her chances of getting into an undergrad studies program: "Please don't contact my college, it's my future and one mistake should not ruin a life. Also please stop with the death threats, again I apologize. Sincerely, Steph."
Predictably, a significant number of individuals weren't buying her "sorry" and any hopes Stephanie had of her video not jeopardizing her college chances were in vain.
She soon uploaded a follow-up post where she confirmed that she wouldn't be attending university thanks to how upset "Black people" were at her post.
Never mind the fact that it was a dumb thing to upload on the internet in the first place, Stephanie doubled down on the racism.
She wrote: "Black people ruined my life. They can't function in a society so they took my future. They're mad me and my boyfriend proved a point. All they know how to do is act ghetto and racist and low class. WHITE POWER. I DO NOT CARE ANYMORE"
That post received a whole bunch of responses with folks doubling down on their belief her apology was never sincere in the first place.
It doesn't look either of the students are going to return to Carrollton schools, either, as Principal David Brooks seemed fairly stern about how seriously the school's taking the video: "It is our priority to keep our schools safe, and there is no doubt this incident has caused significant tension at Carrollton High School, across the district, state and nation – even the world."
Maybe she can take a few gap years while she reflects on how bad of an idea it is to show the entire world you're not only racist but a liar ... and maybe she can get a name change too.