If the name "Nash Grier" sounds familiar it might be because we reported on the infamous Vine personality last July when it came to light that the teen behind the most popular Vine account had created a homophobic video a year or two prior. Nash has now resurfaced with an editorial on The Huffington Post explaining his actions and apologizing for them. Said the teen in part:
I had almost 1,200 followers on Vine and I posted six-second video on HIV/AIDS, using a very offensive term ("fag"). The next day, I went to school and I received so many responses as to how funny the video was. At this point, what I thought I had done wasn't just okay, but I thought it was funny.
[…]At first, I didn't really understand how someone could have so much hate for me, but then I put myself in their shoes. I read more and more comments and even did research. I had a realization that I hadn't had in my life up until that point: Everything I had said on or off camera could've been harmful to others.
[…]I realize that I made a mistake. At the time I didn't, but I have learned from it[…]From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry to each and every person I have ever offended.
Jase Peeples at The Advocate is having none of it, however, calling Grier's statement a "justification" and providing screenshots of Grier's past tweets that were equally anti-gay in nature.
Peeples should be taking a few things into account, though. First, there's a thin line between explanation and justification, but Grier seems to be genuinely repentant. He doesn't try to evade responsibility for his videos or diminish the hurt they delivered, and for bonus points he actually delivers a real apology. Whether or not he's sincere could be debated, but at the very least it's not the oh-so-common non-apology of, "I'm sorry that people were offended by what I said." He apologizes for his actions, not others' "misinterpretations" of his actions
Second, Grier did indeed make tweets that were anti-gay and disparaging of equality. But they were all around or before the time that the video was made or went viral. One tweet in particular held as evidence against him was made in May, 2012 when Grier was about 13-14 years old. Grier claims to have learned from this experience, so holding past crimes as evidence to counter current alleged beliefs isn't particularly fair or rational.
Lastly, Grier is 16, an age group not exactly known for having the life experience necessary for empathy, foresight, and rational decision-making. This does not excuse his actions, of course, but it's important to apply the appropriate perspective: this is a teenager learning from moronic mistakes, not a full grown adult who should know better.
Grier claims that, "someday, I want to make a positive impact on all of you." He's going to have an uphill battle that he's created for himself, but if he can follow through on his claim then he would be a welcome addition to our legions of allies.
(Photo via Instagram)