Alia Shawkat Apologizes for Using the N-Word During 2016 Interview: 'It Was a Careless Moment'

"I regret using a word that carries so much pain and history for black people, as it is never a word to be used by someone who is not black," the actress said in a statement

Alia Shawkat
Alia Shawkat. Photo: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Alia Shawkat is addressing a video of her using a racial slur during a 2016 interview which has resurfaced online.

On Monday, the Arrested Development star, 31, apologized for the remark in a lengthy statement shared on her social media platforms, writing, "I am deeply sorry and I take full responsibility."

"It was a careless moment, one I’m ashamed and embarrassed by but vow to continue to learn from. I regret using a word that carries so much pain and history for black people, as it is never a word to be used by someone who is not black," she continued. "I have been learning so much about what it truly means to be an ally. The voices of black people must be amplified and heard clearly."

The video of Shawkat, which gained traction after a Twitter user posted it online and tagged her, showed the actress using the N-word while quoting lyrics from Drake's "We Made It" during a South by Southwest Festival panel.

"@ShawkatAlia I hope you’re still not using the N word like you did here," the user tweeted. "you’re not black so watch yourself."

Alia Shawkat
Alia Shawkat. Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty

Shawkat addressed her own privilege in her statement, writing, "As an Arabic woman, who can pass for white, I’m working hard to process this nuanced access I’ve been afforded and I realize how important it is to be hyper-vigilant in the spaces I exist in."

The Search Party actress went on to say that she's been "trying to understand the real definition of the word ally" and now understands that it's "more than simply believing in equality but to be willing to act with and for the black community."

"I aim to fight against these injustices that this isn't about a title but an action to work against these systems that have protected me but not others," she wrote. "I am sorry that my ignorance has led to this moment. I will continue to support the black community as best as I can and to learn from this."

Shawkat added, “Silence is violence, and so are the words we irresponsibly throw out."

"I plan to stay engaged and learn from my friends who are helping me understand. And to take on this fight for justice with an active mind and open heart.”

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Shawkat was called out for her use of the racial slur after she posted several images in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on her Instagram.

On May 31, she shared a photo from one of the many ongoing nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality.

"BLACK LIVES MATTER ALWAYS," she captioned the shot.

Shawkat also shared a graphic calling for the defunding of police forces on Thursday and posted an image of Breonna Taylor — a 26-year-old unarmed black EMT and aspiring nurse in Louisville, Kentucky, who was fatally shot March 13 by police while they carried out a no-knock search warrant on the wrong apartment — on Friday.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero ( which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies. works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement ( provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.

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