"I was like, 'Oh God, to the public I'm a racist who's living with Brad Pitt.'"
"Search Party" star Alia Shawkat has had an interesting 2020 in the public eye, after going viral for photos of her with Brad Pitt ... and resurfaced video of her saying the N-word from 2016.
The actress addresses both topics at length in a new profile with Vulture, after apologizing for using the word while repeating lyrics to a Drake song during an interview at SXSW. When her comments made her a Twitter trend earlier this month, she expressed regret for saying it and acknowledged it's something that should never be used "by someone who is not Black."
Speaking with Vulture, she said she doesn't even remember the moment and admitted the casual nature in which she said the word in the footage is alarming to her now.
"In my mind, I wasn’t like, 'What the f--k did I just say? Take that back, I'm sorry, never should have said that,'" she said. "Instead, I just carried it on like a joke and didn't think about it afterward. That was more upsetting, in a way, than saying the word."
"Was I using this because the idea of Black culture seems cool?" she also asked herself. "And I was just like, 'Well, that's just part of it!' It's not intellectually understanding that the words you use are really powerful. I think that’' a lot of what this reckoning is for all of us who are not Black."
Acknowledging the public's potential perception of her, she added, "I was like, ‘Oh God, to the public I'm a racist who's living with Brad Pitt!'"
"I was like, 'I don’t believe this,'" she said, recalling her reaction to the photos. "All my friends were like 'What’s going on?' and sending me photos. I just felt overwhelmed. It's that feeling of being naked in school, like, 'Oh my God, everyone's looking at me.'"
The overall reaction to the very idea they could be a thing has been odd for Shawkat to see, too.
"To them it’s like, 'We don’t get it! This girl is weird! She's so different! Why are they hanging out?'" she said. "You get too close to the prom king, and all of a sudden, everyone’s like, 'Well, who is this bitch?'"
Season 3 of "Search Party" is streaming on HBO Max now.