Rising NASCAR star Hailie Deegan has apologized for using a slur during an online simulation car race on Sunday night.
The 19-year-old David Gilliland Racing (DRG) driver was streaming live on Twitch when she used the R-word while speaking to another competitor.
“This is fun. Oh, ay, who’s the r—-d behind me? Don’t do that please,” she can be heard in a video clip that was shared to Twitter, in which she was apparently reacting to contact with another vehicle. An unidentified person on the live stream can be heard laughing in response.
(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Deegan later posted an apology to Twitter, in which she referred to the word as “inappropriate slang.”
“Earlier tonight I used an insensitive word during an online race being broadcast on twitch. It was inappropriate slang and a stupid thing to do. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it. There’s no excuse for it, and I know I have to do better for my sponsors and my fans.”
Deegan is a member of the Ford Performance roster of drivers and was recently featured in a promotion called Hailie’s Holiday Haul, in which she delivered food to charities in Detroit and Charlotte in an F-150 pickup.
“We are aware of this inappropriate comment. Hailie immediately acknowledged this mistake, has apologized and promised to be much more thoughtful in the future,” Ford said it a statement provided to Fox News.
Deegan competed in one truck series race in 2020 for DGR-Crosley, finishing 16th at Kansas Speedway. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
In 2019 the New York Giants released cornerback Janoris Jenkins for not acknowledging his “inappropriate and offensive language” after he directed the R-word at someone in a tweet that has never been deleted from his feed. Jenkins was later signed off waivers by the New Orleans Saints organization, which he plays for today.
Deegan’s online activity has been criticized in the past. During an episode of “The Deegans” podcast last September she referred to the coronavirus as both the “flu” and a “hoax,” despite having previously posted messages to Twitter with Ford tags encouraging people to wash and disinfect in an effort to fight the spread of the virus. She also posted then removed a video from Instagram in which she complained about having to wash the ash from the deadly California wildfires off of her car.
Deegan, who is is the daughter of freestyle motocross rider and off-road racer Brian Deegan, in 2018 became the first woman to win a race in the NASCAR K&N West Series, at age 17. She finished third last year in the Arca Menards Series for DGR-Crosley, which became DGR for 2021, and is set to compete for the team in the Camping World Truck Series this year.
NASCAR was rocked by a livestream incident last April when driver Kyle Larson was suspended from the series and fired from Chip Ganassi Racing for using the N-word during an online event. Larson has since been reinstated after completing a sensitivity program and is returning with Hendrick Motorsports for the 2021 season.
However, Larson’s original spotter for the 2021 season, Chris Monez, was fired just four days after joining the team when Twitter posts that appeared to support the QAnon conspiracy theory and President Trump’s call for Bubba Wallace to apologize for the uproar caused by an alleged noose that was found in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway were highlighted in an editorial on SpeedwayMedia.com.
NASCAR, DGR and Deegan’s major sponsor Monster Energy have not responded to requests for comment from Fox News regarding Sunday’s.
This is a developing story. It has been updated to reflect DGR-Crosley’s recent organizational transformation into David Gilliland Racing and had previously stated that DGR’s social media accounts had been deactivated. New accounts have been launched under the DGR name.