A South Carolina teen is facing backlash after she filmed herself pretending to whip George Floyd in a now-deleted TikTok video.
Lauren Swist, a high school junior and cheerleader at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, has been identified as the creator behind the racist video mocking the death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose police custody death in May sparked sparked global outrage. According to the Daily Dot, Swist initially shared the video on her TikTok account around December 18.
The clip, captioned “george floyd: ‘hey can i borrow a dollar,'” shows a superimposed Swist standing in front of a close up picture of Floyd’s face. It then cuts to a shot of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, according to the video.
Swist pretends in the TikTok to whip the restrained man while lip-syncing the N-word during a verse from Klondike Blonde’s 2018 single Drip.
The video quickly went viral after Twitter user @myramenisbeuno shared the post on December 20 with the caption: “Lauren Swist posted a racist TikTok about George Floyd, she even gets a belt and pretends to whip him. She lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.”
The video has amassed over 40,000 views and inspired a wave of online fury, with many condemning the teen as racist.
“To the babes who are sympathizers for lauren swist and are pleading with me to take her ‘mental health’ into consideration… ummm what about george floyd’s family’s mental health,” one person tweeted on December 20. “you know he has a little daughter right?”
Swist has since deleted her social media accounts and could not be reached for comment.
Here’s what you need to know:
According to the Daily Dot, Swist Later Apologized for the Video
In a statement that appeared to be posted on Snapchat, Swist apologized for her actions, the Daily Dot said.
In a screenshot of the apology circulating on Twitter, Swist writes: “I sent it to one person who I trusted and they took it too far by sending it to someone they knew would share it out of spite for being angry at me and wanting to hurt me.”
She added that the video was “taken out of context,” according to the screenshot.
“If you know me personally I am not racist although it blatently [sic] sounds that way and I would never want to hurt people like this,” Swist wrote.
Socastee High School Has Announced It Is Investigating the Incident
On December 23, Socastee High School announced on Twitter that it is “aware” of the “racially-offensive” post and is investigating the incident.
“Socastee High School is aware of a recent racially-offensive social media post made by one of our students,” the statement read. “We were disappointed, shocked and deeply saddened by the images and language used in the post, and it does not represent the values of our school.”
Although the statement did not release any names, Twitter users previously tagged the school’s account with recordings of the clip identifying Swist as the culprit. Many demanded answers from the school on how it planned to proceed.
One person on December 20 tweeted, “@SocasteeHS why is your student Lauren Swist posting racially offensive content online? Does this reflect the culture and values of your school? What consequences will she face?”
Socastee High School expressed in its statement that it is “committed to championing diversity, cultural awareness, civic pride while providing a nurturing environment for our students and staff.”