The most-followed person on the video platform Vine has come under fire for hurling a homophobic slur in a newly surfaced video about HIV.
Nash Grier is a 16-year-old Vine star from North Carolina who boasts a following of more than 8.7 million people, which is 7 million more than Justin Bieber. On Sunday, July 6, YouTube star Tyler Oakley shared a previously deleted video of Grier's on Twitter. The clip opens with a portion of a commercial for the HIV oral-swab test, OraQuick.
"Testing for HIV. It's not a gay thing," the commercial says.
Then, it cuts to Grier, who yells: "Yes it is! Fag!"
TMZ reports Grier's video was originally posted in April, though Grier's father told the Charlotte Observer it was uploaded back in 2013. Oakley shared the video this week not only to criticize its offensive nature, but also to highlight the Vine star's misleading information.
As Oakley notes, gay men are not the only population at risk for HIV. Studies conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that "[s]ince the epidemic began, almost 85,000 persons with an AIDS diagnosis, infected through heterosexual sex, have died, included an estimated 4,003 in 2010. ... Women accounted for 20% of estimated new HIV infections in 2010 and 24% of those living with HIV infection in 2009."
Grier ultimately posted an apology, claiming he was "young" and "in a bad place" when he uploaded the video three months ago.
— Nash Grier (@Nashgrier) July 6, 2014
In an April interview with New York Mag, Grier said he likes to keep his posts upbeat: “Be happy. Don’t make a Vine about, like, something not that happy. ... I don’t use cuss words, I try not to do anything awful. You don’t want to lower your audience."
That same month, the Dreamworks-owned online video network AwesomenessTV announced plans to make a movie with Grier and fellow Vine star Cameron Dallas, according to The Wrap.
A rep for Grier was not immediately available for further comment.
This story has been updated with Grier's father's statement to the Charlotte Observer about when his son uploaded the video.