During the Super Bowl, Lovato tweeted, “So far 21 Savage memes have been my favorite part of the Super Bowl,” which resulted in a number of tweets criticizing the singer for being insensitive to the rapper’s detainment.
21 Savage was arrested Sunday morning by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta under the suspicion that he is actually from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa. According to ICE, the rapper, legally named Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, allegedly entered the United States legally when he was a minor in July 2005, but failed to leave under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa.
Rapper Wale tweeted in defense of 21 Savage writing, “Why is somebody freedom funny…I don’t get the joke.”
In response, Lovato criticized Wale in a now-deleted Instagram comment captured by the Shade Room: “Wale just salty I never replied to his desperate tweets years ago.”
To which Wale replied: “Still ain’t gon disrespect you…still praying for you Demi. Glad u seen my old tweets. Hopefully you seen the ones providing comfort and prayer when you were down. I don’t kick people when they down. Go queen.”
In another tweet, Wale added: “A lot of people were sending you love light , prayers etc . When people were making jokes about u at a rough time. A lot of people .Bless up.”
A number of other rappers also came to the defense of 21 Savage, including Migos’ Offset, who tweeted, “ALL THE MEMES AND S— AINT FUNNY WHEN SOMEBODY GOING THROUGH SOME. PRAYING FOR MY DAWG. …. HIS FAMILY DEPENDING ON HIM.”
Lovato initially attempted to clarify her statement on Twitter writing, “F— Twitter. This is why I don’t tweet anymore,” before referencing an actual meme, one that joked about the fact that many of 21 Savage’s fans didn’t know he was British, in another tweet. “FYI this is the s— I’m laughing at…not the fact that anyone is getting deported,” she wrote.
Later on, Lovato turned to Instagram where she addressed the incident in a series of posts to her Instagram story. Although the singer apologized to the people she offended, she was also quick to criticize Twitter users who referenced her past struggles with addiction during the backlash.
“Wasn’t laughing at anyone getting deported,” Lovato wrote. “Sorry if I offended anyone. But it’s no excuse to laugh at someone’s addiction let alone their OD.”
“I was laughing at who the f— knew 21 was British? Literally no one,” she added. “That’s it. It doesn’t go deeper than that. I’m sorry if I upset people truly.”