Eiza Gonzalez apologized for wearing blackface in a Spanish-language telenovela she starred in when she was 15

By Alexia Fernandez
June 24, 2020 11:20 PM
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Eiza Gonzalez
Rich Fury/Getty

Eiza Gonzalez is apologizing for the use of blackface in a telenovela she starred in when she was 15.

Photos of the actress in blackface resurfaced online from her time on the telenovela Lola, Érase Una Vez in 2007 amid photographs of her spending time with Timothée Chalamet in Mexico.

“I am deeply sorry and ashamed about having worn blackface makeup show in images circulating,” Gonzalez, 30, said in a statement obtained by Page Six. “As a 15-year-old child actor on my first job in a Mexican telenovela, I was pressured against my will, and with no negotiating power, I could not advocate for myself in the situation.”

“I wish I had the voice and knowledge then that I have now,” she added.

Photos of the actress dressed in geisha garb also circulated online. Gonzalez addressed the photos in her statement, saying, “The other image in question is from a trip I took to Japan.”

“According to my host, it is considered an intercultural exchange to dress up in their traditional clothing and makeup,” Gonzalez explained. “It is seen as an appreciation of their culture, however, I understand that out of context, this calls for a dialogue about contemporary cultural appropriation.”

She continued, “As a Mexican woman and an immigrant, I have faced racism and ignorance throughout my life and career. I would never intentionally participate in anything that I knew would cause harm or distress to another person.”

“More than gestures of apology, it is my responsibility to educate myself and use my voice to stand up for others,” she added. “And again I deeply apologize for hurting anyone.”

Representatives for Gonzalez did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Gonzalez has attended a number of Los Angeles protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks and has been vocal with her fans to help push for change.

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

•Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

•ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.

•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.