'Dance Moms' Star Apologizes After Blackface Photos Resurface

Former Dance Moms star Mackenzie Ziegler, the younger sister of Maddie Ziegler, expressed "regret" for the "pain" she may have caused with her past decisions in an Instagram Story post she published on April 8. Although she did not specify what decisions she was writing about, the message came after Twitter and Instagram users shared old photos that appeared to show the now-16-year-old Ziegler in blackface. Maddie, 18, also apologized for racially insensitive behavior last year.

"I sincerely regret any pain I may have caused from decisions I made when I was younger," Kenzie wrote in the now-expired Instagram Story message, reports E! News. "There is no excuse for this, and I am continuing to learn and grow so that I do not make the same mistakes again." She went on to thank her fans for "understanding that my actions from years ago do not represent who I am today. Part of growing up is becoming more self-aware, and I am committed to educating myself and thinking before acting."

Maddie, who recently starred in Sia's movie Music, apologized to fans in August 2020 after posts she described as "ignorant and racially insensitive" resurfaced at the time. "There are a few videos some of you have seen from when I was about 9 years old where I thought it was funny to mock people and accents," Maddie wrote at the time. "I'm honestly ashamed, and I'm truly sorry for my actions. The decisions I made then are absolutely not decisions I would make today."

The professional dancer noted that what she once thought was "silly humor" when she was younger was "actually ignorant and racially insensitive," she wrote. "We have all made mistakes in our lives and as we grow up we educate ourselves and learn to be better people," Maddie continued. She said she hopes to set a "good example" for her social media followers.

Last summer, the younger Ziegler sister issued two apologies on Instagram. In July, she apologized for videos that allegedly showed her saying racial slurs, reports E! News. "I am sorry for my actions in the past. I am sorry if I offended anyone. That was not my intention. I am NOT a racist. I do not stand for racism," Ziegler wrote in an Instagram Story post at the time. "I'm sorry if you all misunderstood me. I'm trying my best."

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Ziegler also spoke to fans in an Instagram Live session in early August to apologize again. "I'm much more educated now than I was before, and I'm so sorry... I'm so sorry that I offended the Black community, I would never treat you like that now, she said in footage later posted by TikTok Room. "And if you guys don't forgive me, I completely understand."

The two Ziegler sisters have been in the public eye since Dance Moms started in 2011. Since the series ended, they have continued performing as actors, models, and singers. They also have huge followings on social media, with over 15 million Instagram users following Ziegler and 13.9 million following Maddie. Ziegler also has 20 million followers on TikTok.