Lindsey Shaw is taking a break from social media following a scandal involving a since-deleted TikTok. The 32-year-old actress, who has appeared in Pretty Little Liars and Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, was criticized for mocking a popular TikTok dance which was popularized by Black TikTok creators.
Shaw posted the clip on her own account before cutting to herself imitating the dance, and saying, "Hey, are we OK? What the f**k is this?"
Commenters quickly noticed that Shaw's former Ned's Declassified co-star, Devon Werkheiser, who is white, had posted the same clip, green screening himself into the video to share the dance several days before. Shaw commented on his clip with several laughing face emojis, writing, "Get it!!!!"
When commenters tried to call Shaw out for insulting the dance, the actress shot back. She later took to her Instagram Stories, sharing a tearful message about hate she had received surrounding the backlash.
"I just have to say right now that the hate in my inbox is not OK, OK?" Shaw tearfully said in a video shared to her Instagram Stories. "I did not mean anything in any kind of way. I am learning every day as I think everybody is. And this kind of hate just needs to evaporate from the planet no matter who it's directed toward. Crocodile tears, no dude! This is my soul out there."
Shaw continued her post, "If you know anything about what I stand for or believe in, it's not this. I am sorry you were offended."
The actress also announced she was taking a social media break and said that her original commentary on the video was meant to play into the generational beef between Millennials and Gen Z.
"I think for my own mental health, I need to take a step back from social media," she said. "I'm not here to offend or belittle anybody at all. I thought that the Millennial/Gen Z thing was a thing on TikTok. The intention wasn't that serious, y'all."
Shaw added that she planned to return to TikTok, noting, "I'll be back and I hope that I know more and we all have a little more compassion and understanding."
Following the backlash, Shaw's co-star, Werkheiser, posted his own video, responding to a fan's question about the drama.
He called Shaw's initial video "unnecessary" and said she was "rather reactionary and defensive" in her subsequent comments.
"If you know Lindsey personally, you know she's a hater on all sorts of things -- Black, white, brown, popular, unpopular -- and can be a reactionary and defensive person," he said of his co-star. "But she's also got a good heart and is dealing with personal issues and challenges that none of you know anything about."
Werkheiser added that while he understood some of the frustrations expressed by Shaw's critics, he plans to stand by her.
"People are out here standing for a principle and standing for people of color, which I get, but I'm also going to defend my friend's well-being because friends don't get canceled in real life," he continued. "Can she maybe be a little ignorant and defensive and reactionary? Yeah, but I also love her and will defend her and stand for her success in this life."