Emy Alupei got her “The Challenge” debut last season on “Spies, Lies and Allies” and she had a very strong rookie season, making it all the way to the final and winning the hearts of her co-stars with her passionate personality. MTV also highlighted the Romanian star as the show helped her launch her single “Alien” and the show’s reunion ended with a live performance of the song.
However, some fans of the show weren’t happy with Emy’s casting for the season as a video began circulating of her 2016 performance on X Factor Romania. Emy, who was 18 at the time, was singing and rapping to Nicki Minaj’s song “Only” featuring Chris Brown and in the performance she rapped all the song’s lyrics including racial slurs.
On June 3, Emy issued a statement about her performance on Twitter and Instagram, writing, “I want to address my X-factor Romania performance in 2016. Six years ago when I was 18 years old, I performed ‘Only’ by Nicki Minaj on live broadcast of the X-factor. Nicki Minaj is my idol who inspired me since I was a child.” She added:
During the broadcast I sang all of the words to her song including words that are very offensive in western culture. I am from Romania and I did not know these words were culturally insensitive when used by white people. I would never ever in my life intend to offend , insult, hurt or disrespect anybody.
I am sorry from my heart for saying these words in the song. I now understand the impact and heaviness of using this word and how offensive my performance was to an entire community. I sincerely apologize to everyone, my friends and to strangers I have offended.
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Many Fans Criticized Emy for the Apology & Said It Came Much Too Late
Warning: This article contains light spoilers about casting for season 38 of “The Challenge.”
Emy’s apology came soon after spoilers began getting shared about casting for the 38th season of “The Challenge,” which has just begun filming. According to reports from accounts that have often shared accurate spoilers in the past, Emy was among the final cast for the 38th season. However, her apparent casting was met with some blowback from fans who felt she shouldn’t appear due to her performance. Soon afterward, these accounts reported that Emy was at the airport on her way to film the season when she was dropped from the cast and sent home.
Many fans have speculated that Emy’s apology came in light of this and slammed the star for not apologizing sooner. Other fans have also criticized MTV and wondered why the network promoted her song “Alien” so much when the X Factor performance was already circulating on social media. One person wrote, “The n word shouldn’t feel comfortable coming out of your mouth as a white person, even if it’s a song lyric.”
Someone else said, “Yeah, I’m not buying the I didn’t know story here at all.” Someone said, “this is such a forced apology.” Another agreed, “This is the most fill in the blanks apology I’ve ever seen haha.” Someone else said, “Emy… you didn’t know? Racism is everywhere NOT just the US or as you said ‘western culture’ you’re old enough to know better. Sorry not sorry this apology is fake AF!”
One fan commented, “As a black man, I’m not offended that she used it because I really dont think she knew the context behind that word since shes from Romania and she was singing lyrics in a song. My problem is that she didn’t apologize about this performance until it affected her relationship with the show. The video resurfaced when she was casted for SLA. If she was really sorry and felt bad about the performance, she would’ve addressed it then. Emy only addressed now cuz she got dropped from this upcoming season.”
Someone else said, “I was mad at her for not apologizing when it initially blew up. I’m glad she apologized and she is redeemable but I still wish she did this months ago, not because MTV told her to now.” Another agreed, “I might think this was real if you didn’t wait to get dropped from a season to post this…”
A Lot of Other Fans Expressed Support for Emy & Said They Understood the Cultural Differences
Despite the criticism, many other fans expressed support for Emy and said they agreed with her comments that she didn’t realize the implications of using those words. Emy’s “Spies, Lies and Allies” castmate Hughie Maughan commented on her Instagram post and wrote, “Emy you are an amazing, inspiring young woman, always remember that, we all have made stupid mistakes with less understanding.”
One fan wrote, “You’re a good person Emy! Don’t let this bring you down we loved your energy on the challenge we know you bring LOVE not hate.” Many others commented that Emy couldn’t be expected to know that the racial slurs were inappropriate due to cultural differences. One person said, “no one on [X Factor] reacted to her saying that word, so maybe they do use it quite freely over there without knowing its meaning. I don’t know much about Romania.” Another person agreed, “The fact that they aired it on tv (unless there’s 0 censorship in Romania) suggests that a lot of their culture doesn’t understand the cultural significance of the word.”
One Redditor commented, “I’m glad the people here seem to understand that her cultural ignorance caused this, and she should not be held to the American standard.” Another said, “Americans … really have NO CLUE how the rest of the world operates or how other cultures work. It’s so strange to me how they think American culture or ideas just automatically should be accepted above any other culture.”
One person pointed out, “if I sang/rapped a song in another language, there’s no way I’d know the cultural differences between words… Definitely don’t see any ill-intent.” Another agreed, “As if everyone here making negative comment would know which words were offensive in a Romanian song.” Another person wrote, “If she got dropped for a mistake she made when she was 18 and cause she wasn’t informed of American History that is absolutely RIDICULOUS.”
One person wrote, “It’s weird because that video has been known about for ages now… Mtv decided to promote her though in almost a crazy way, allowing her to sing her song during one of the episodes and also at the reunion. Now all of a sudden they decided to punish her for it even though they must had to have known about it ages ago as well.”
Another agreed, “It’s so bizarre. I don’t disagree with the choice to not bring her back, buuuut why was that choice made when she was at the airport on her way to film the new season? The moments when MTV decides to care are so random and inconsistent. It’s obvious they don’t GAF and are just taking action when they think it’ll make them look good.” Someone said, “If she got dropped off a season for this, that’s f****** pathetic. By doing s*** like this, they are making it as if someone isn’t allowed to grow and learn from mistakes.”