The New York Post has drawn criticism of social media users and is being accused of racism after referring to popular TikToker Khaby Lame as a "laid off factory worker" in its latest headline.
Lame, a Senegalese-born 22-year-old living in Italy, rose to prominence by silently mocking overly complicated life hack videos. On Wednesday night, Lame surpassed Charli D'Amelio as the most followed TikTok account with more than 142.8 million followers on the platform â a spot previously dominated by white creators.
Lame becoming the most popular personality on TikTok is notable given past issues raised by users on the platform around how creators of color â and specifically Black creators â are treated.
In 2020, in response to accusations that the TikTok algorithm suppresses Black creators' content, the company pledged to take steps, including creating a diversity council and donating money to nonprofits "that help the Black community." Last year, citing a lack of credit for choreographing viral dances to hit songs, some Black creators took part in an informal strike, refusing to create dances that otherwise might disproportionately benefit white creators.
Multiple news outlets reported about Lame's achievement but the New York Post drew the ire of the masses after it chose to refer to the TikTok star with "laid off factory worker" instead of his name. "Laid-off factory worker unseats Charli D'Amelio as top TikTok star with 142.8M fans," the headline read.
Not long after the article was published, netizens took to Twitter to slam The Post over its choice of words and accused the publication of racism.
"Racism is when a black person achieved being the most followed on the most popular app at the moment, yet they're seen as a 'factory worker,'" wrote one user. "His name is Khaby Lame."
"Praying for the downfall of all publications that rely on Black outrage for engagement & clicks," commented another.
Here are some of the other reactions: