Over the last two years, Brother Nature became one of those rare, invaluable souls whose Twitter feed didn't make you want to vomit—posting photos and videos of himself hanging out with tigers, sloths, camels, elephants, and his girl Canela, who's actually a deer. It seemed like an uplifting, unproblematic oasis in the miserable desert that is Twitter—until someone unearthed the animal whisperer's history of racist tweets.
Over the weekend, some cyber sleuth uncovered a bunch of awful shit the 20-year-old, whose real name is Kelvin Peña, tweeted out a few years back, making him what feels like the ten thousandth internet-famous person to get milkshake ducked this year, BuzzFeed News reports. The tweets, most of which came from 2011 and 2012, ran the gamut from racist, to sexist, to anti-semitic, and beyond. "I hate coons dammit," he wrote in one; another included a swastika next to the words "HEIL HITLER."
After briefly taking his account private on Sunday, Peña explained that all of those tweets date back to when he was about 12 years old. Of course, people say dumb shit at that age without really thinking of the consequences—Peña said he was "impressionable" and "seeking attention" back then—but he apologized for what he wrote, and let his fans know that he's "evolved."
"I am sorry to all of the people that I offended and have let down. I apologize for 12 year old Kelvin and take total responsibility for my words," he wrote in a statement. "Everyone changes, everyone learns, and everyone makes mistakes."
Peña is just one of innumerable people who's been called out for saying horrible things on Twitter, but unlike more mainstream personalities—say, James Gunn, or Roseanne Barr—it's unclear exactly what's at stake for him here. Ostensibly, sponsors who team up with Peña for content could decide not to work with him anymore. Ultimately it comes down to whether or not his fans will forgive him, which it looks like at least some of them are ready to do, especially in light of the work he's done for charity.
Even if we take Peña at his word—that these were just the mindless tweets of a dumb, 12-year-old kid who didn't actually mean what he was saying—it doesn't change the fact that calling women's rights a "joke" and praising Hitler hurts. If anything, the whole thing just goes to show why most people should really go back and revisit their old tweets—not just to avoid backlash, but also for a chance to reckon with what they said.
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