YouTuber Kian Lawley says he “became a better human” after a video of him using a racist term resurfaced in 2018.
It resulted in him being fired as an actor from a film inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 24-year-old admits he “messed up” but insists “nobody’s perfect”.
Speaking exclusively to Radio 1 Newsbeat he explains the online criticism he received was “scary” and he didn’t know what impact it would have on his career.
“It was a really big part of my life,” Kian tells Newsbeat at VidCon London, a convention for vloggers and fans that features some of the world’s biggest social-media stars.
“I’ve never claimed to be perfect and I never want to claim to be perfect.”
Kian used the racist term while rapping with friends.
The controversy led to Kian also being dropped from his talent agency – with the film makers of The Hate U Give explaining he had been removed due to “his past comments and behaviour”.
Set predominantly in a black community, the main character Starr begins to question her place in society and the private school where she is one of a few non-white students.
Kian originally played Chris – Starr’s boyfriend – one of the only major white characters in the film.
After the racism controversy the role had to be recast and scenes were reshot with Riverdale actor, KJ Apa, replacing him as the character of Chris.
The fallout meant Kian, who has 17m followers across social media, experienced “cancel culture” – when someone is boycotted online for something problematic they’ve said or done.
At the time he said he “understood” that “words have power and can do a lot of damage”.
He took a break from posting videos on his YouTube channel and says he knows he was “in the wrong”.
Kian says he used the break “to re-establish and re-find” himself but accepts “not everyone’s going to be on my side”.