Koshy said that what she “once thought of as ‘innocent jokes’ were actually tainted with implicit bias” in an apology posted to social media.
“What might have been intended as ‘playful’ was actually to some, incredibly painful. And for that, I am sorry,” she wrote on Instagram.
The first video, posted in 2016, sees Koshy pretending to have an Asian accent while eating sweets from Japan and Hawaii.
Her then-boyfriend, fellow YouTuber David Dobrik, can be heard saying: “It’s not racist. That’s like the sounds I hear when they talk,” to which Koshy replies: “No, it’s not racist as long as I keep saying no.”
In a follow-up video, the YouTube stars pretend to speak Japanese using made up words. The clips were reposted on TikTok.
As part of Koshy’s apology, she shared a quote from author Ibram X Kendi, a leading scholar of race and discriminatory policy in America.
“You can be someone who has no intention to be racist, but because you’re conditioned in a world that is racist and a country that is structured in anti-black racism, you yourself can perpetuate those ideas. No matter what colour you are.”
Kosh said that the quote ”has been sitting in my heart ever since” she read it.
“My work has been within but now I recognise and take responsibility for the times I was not the ally I am becoming today,” she wrote, adding: “I can’t in good faith continue to use my platform for progress without taking accountability myself.”
She said that she “unknowingly perpetuated racist ideas” and apologised “to the beautiful communities I have caused hurt within”.
Koshy is the YouTuber behind the streaming platform’s original series Liza on Demand.
The Independent has contacted Dobrik for comment.