Maddie Ziegler is apologizing for her past actions, which she says were “ignorant and racially insensitive.”
The 17-year-old professional dancer and former “Dance Moms” star took to her Instagram story on Tuesday to address old videos of herself that resurfaced on social media.
“There are a few videos some of you have seen from when I was about 9 years old where I thought it was funny to mock people and accents,” she wrote. “I’m honestly ashamed and I’m truly sorry for my actions.”
Ziegler also noted that the decisions she made in those videos “are absolutely not decisions I would make today.”
“What I thought was silly humor when I was younger I know was actually ignorant and racially insensitive,” she continued. “We have all made mistakes in our lives and learn to be better people.”
Though she wrote that she has “grown up” since these videos were filmed, Ziegler added that she has a responsibility to set a good example for her fans and asked for forgiveness.
“I know some of you are hurt and may not accept my apology but I want to ask all of you to please be kind to each other on socials,” she wrote. “There is no need to attack each other or try to defend me. I don’t want anyone to feel bullied and think we can all learn from my mistakes and spread love during these times when we need it most.”
“I’m much more educated now than I was before, and I’m so sorry,” she said. “I’m so sorry that I offended the Black community. I would never treat you like that now. I would never.”
USA TODAY has reached out to the Ziegler sisters’ reps for further comment.
In June, Abby Lee Miller, the doyenne coach of “Dance Moms,” saw her plans for a new dance show on Lifetime canceled following racism allegations by an ex-“Dance Moms” cast member. Miller acknowledged her words and expressed regret.
Former “Dance Moms” contestant Adriana Smith called out Miller on Instagram, accusing the coach of addressing her and her daughter, Kamryn, with bigoted statements when she competed on Season 8 last year.
“A statement from her that sticks in my mind to this day during my time on DMS8 is ‘I know you grew up in the HOOD with only a box of 8 crayons, but I grew up in the Country Club with a box of 64 – don’t be stupid.’ ” Smith posted. “This to me shows that you think you are better than me and in higher rank and all together superior to ME!”
Smith said her daughter overheard Miller saying the only reason Kamryn was on the show was for “a sprinkle of color.”
Miller later apologized in a long statement on her Instagram.
“I genuinely understand and deeply regret how my words have effected and hurt those around me in the past, particularly those in the Black community,” she wrote. “To Kamryn, Adriana, and anyone else I’ve hurt, I am truly sorry. I realize that racism can come not just from hate, but also from ignorance. No matter the cause, it is harmful, and it is my fault.”
Contributing: Maria Puente