Content Warning: Discussion of racism and racist language are present in this article.
There has been a trend that has been spreading throughout social media in support of Morgan Wallen, a country music star, in support of him following a video surfacing of him saying the N-word.
Fans of Wallen have taken to supporting him in many different ways, like streaming his music and starting TikTok trends. This TikTok trend, where white people who are fans of Wallen started posting videos of themselves singing along to songs that have the N-word in them, has spread across the platform.
The trend made its way into the Iowa State community when an Iowa State student, Zachary Stasz, freshman in construction engineering, posted a video in support of the trend and posted a TikTok of him singing along to a song with the N-word in it.
Jessica Chalupa, a freshman in pre-business, said she came across the video when it appeared on her “For You Page” due to her having a mutual friend with Stasz. She explained that in the past he has made inappropriate comments about the Black Lives Matter movement, so she decided to repost the video in order to call Stasz out.
“I decided to make a repost regarding the video because this isn’t the first time he’s made an inappropriate statement, and he needs to understand the severity of it,” Chalupa said.
The concept of calling out racism has become a huge part of TikTok culture, according to NPR.
“Short and breezy videos that are funny or feature animals or cooking trends typically dominate TikTok, yet national upheaval over systemic racism has tapped into raw emotion that is also deeply resonating,” NPR reported. “All of a sudden, TikTok has become the go-to forum for burgeoning youth activism.”
Chalupa said there is an extreme importance in calling out racist behavior like this, because if more people called others out instead of encouraging it, people may start to understand the severity of their actions.
Chalupa also said she believes the university should be responding to the controversy to acknowledge the issue of racism at Iowa State.
“I think the university should respond and at least acknowledge that what is going on here isn’t the first time campus has seen racism,” Chalupa said. “I’m sure they’ll respond, however I am just not quite sure how.”
Chalupa also thinks Stasz should be facing consequences for his actions and behavior.
“Whether it be a mark on his transcript, punished through his fraternity or something else,” Chalupa said. “If I were an employer in the future, would I want to hire someone like that? Probably not.”
Chalupa expressed the importance of consequences and how all individuals have to face them for their actions in all circumstances.
“All actions have consequences, and if you aren’t ready for the consequences then you shouldn’t be posting inappropriate content for the whole world to see,” Chalupa said.
Stasz has reached out and released a statement over the subject of his TikTok video.
“What I can say is I had no intention of hurting anyone. This was not the point of this video, it was a trend going around and I agree I shouldn’t have been a follower,” he said. “I would never try to hurt anyone from this university or in general. I’m sorry to all the people I may have offended, I truly apologize.
“I realize these actions were wrong to which I promptly took it down to not offend any others. These were never my intentions. I sincerely apologize for having this even be a topic brought up, but I can assure you my intentions were completely opposite of what has been portrayed.”
Iowa State has not released a statement regarding this video or racism allegations at the time of publishing this article.