Doja Cat performs onstage during YouTube Brandcast 2023
(Noam Galai/Getty Images for YouTube)

From Racist Songs to Problematic Boyfriends, Doja Cat Has Done It All

Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, better known by her stage name Doja Cat, went from posting music on SoundCloud to being a highly decorated rapper and singer with numerous Hot 100 hits and Grammy and American Music Awards nominations. However, the singer is trailed by a long list of controversies, apologies, and too many now-deleted offensive social media posts to count. Ever since she was discovered on SoundCloud, Doja Cat has touted what many describe as an absurdist internet personality. Over the years, she has gained attention for her eccentricity and for posting bizarre and surreal content on the internet.

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From her TikToks and Twitch streams to her music videos and lyrics, Doja Cat created a buzz on the internet with her absurdist humor. Her big breakthrough to stardom was her single “Mooo!” in which she sang about being a cow. The song sparked a viral meme and equally quirky music video of the rapper in a cow-print outfit with french fries up her nose. She capitalized on her newfound fame from the novelty song and released her second studio album, which proved to be a major success.

Unfortunately, her desire to illicit shock and to do what’s quirky and unexpected has led to her doing and saying many offensive things. Like other attention-seeking influencers, such as Trisha Paytas, Doja Cat has gotten herself into quite a lot of trouble for being insensitive, lacking a filter, and pulling scandalous stunts. It’s always difficult to tell when she really means something or when she’s pulling another publicity stunt due to how outrageous some of the things she has said have been. Here’s a breakdown of her biggest controversies over the years.

Doja Cat slammed for being rude to her fans

One of Doja Cat’s most recent controversies arose when she began criticizing her fans in a Twitter thread, seemingly without being provoked. In a series of since-deleted Tweets, Doja Cat called out her fans for calling themselves “kitten” or “kittenz.” It isn’t uncommon for fans to coin unofficial fan base nicknames for themselves, such as Taylor Swift fans calling themselves Swifties and Justin Bieber fans calling themselves Beliebers. However, Doja Cat took offense at the nickname and told fans calling themselves kittenz to “get off your phone and get a job.” She then targeted a fan page using her birth name, saying that their usage of her real name was “creepy as f**k.” When one fan questioned what they should call themselves if Doja Cat didn’t like Kittenz, she responded by telling them to delete the entire account and “rethink everything.”

The random tirade against her fans resulted in many of her major fan pages deactivating their accounts and asking for an apology from Doja Cat. It sparked a debate about whether celebrities owe anything to their fans. However, most of the managers of the fan accounts believed Doja Cat owed them basic respect. It wasn’t as if these accounts were harassing her or behaving inappropriately. On the contrary, they may have actually been benefitting her because these accounts rack up huge followings and consistently promote her without getting anything in return. Additionally, given how vicious the internet can be, it is usually a very poor idea for celebrities to target specific users or accounts on the internet, lest they spark a dangerous campaign against them. Some of the fan pages expressed to NBC News wanting to hide their identities for fear of harm coming to them or their families over the incident.

Some users theorized that Doja Cat’s tirade was a publicity stunt, given how seemingly random it was. It certainly would be in line with the title of her latest single, “Attention.” However, it could also be that she was striking back at fans over their concerns about her controversial boyfriend.

Doja Cat defends dating boyfriend accused of harassment

Recently, Doja Cat began dating Twitch streamer Jeffrey “J” Cyrus, to the dismay of her fan base and outsiders. The pair haven’t publicly commented on their relationship but were spotted on vacation in Cabo, Mexico. For those unfamiliar with Cyrus, he is at the center of multiple disturbing allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and racism. Tweets and Vines have resurfaced, allegedly showing Cyrus making racist remarks about police brutality and perpetuating racist stereotypes.

Additionally, several women have come forward with allegations against Cyrus, accusing him of using his influence and platform to sexually harass them, as well as to try to silence them. The accusations prompted a response from Cyrus on Twitch, which has been screenshotted and shared on Twitter. In the statement, he acknowledged the accusations against him and admitted to being “greedy” and “ignorant” and using his “power” to engage in sexual relationships with women who followed him on Twitch. While admitting to abusing his power, he still claimed that everything was “consensual” and framed the accusations as the women merely feeling hurt and abandoned after the relationships ended. He simultaneously admitted to using his platform to prey on women for his personal gratification, while refusing to take accountability for the seriousness of his actions.

While his response is fairly incriminating, the allegations of the women haven’t been confirmed, and there are no legal charges against him. However, similar to how fans felt when Swift started dating Matt Healy, who has faced countless accusations of racism, Islamophobia, and sexism, many felt that Doja Cat shouldn’t be associating with a man with so many disturbing allegations against him. Rather than acknowledging the women who were allegedly hurt by Cyrus and fans’ concerns, Doja Cat’s response was to write in a now-deleted Tweet, “My life my rules[,] my style[,] my attitude.”

Doja Cat’s alleged racism and homophobia

Two of the biggest controversies surrounding Doja Cat are her alleged racist and homophobic remarks. In 2015, she uploaded a song to SoundCloud titled “Dindu Nuffin.” Dindu Nuffin is a racist slur often used in alt-right and white supremacist message boards and corners of the internet to mock Black victims of police brutality. Some internet users claimed the song was in reference to the death of Sandra Bland, a woman who died in police custody in July 2015. The song was deleted from SoundCloud, but Doja Cat issued an apology after it resurfaced in 2020. She denied that the song was racist or had anything to do with Bland, claiming it was a song about a phrase people used to hurt her. In an Instagram Live, Doja Cat also admitted that it was “maybe the worst song in the entire world,” but ultimately just explained her usage of the term away by chalking it up to a “bad decision.”

Unfortunately, the racist accusations don’t end there. In 2020, Doja Cat was accused of using Tinychat to perform for white supremacists and incels. Tinychat is an online chat website that is known to attract alt-right and incel communities—something Doja Cat herself acknowledged. On social media, users shared video proof of Doja Cat using racial slurs and making sexual gestures in a community chat on Tinychat, allegedly recorded in 2019. This led to rumors that Doja Cat was “stripping” for white supremacists and incels on the platform or engaging in “race play.” Doja Cat later admitted to using the chat and to knowing the kind of groups that utilized the chat. However, she denied that any racist conversations took place or that she was race-playing. Once again, she offered a rather half-hearted apology in which she brushed off the incident, saying she was just being “dumb” and that she’s “not perfect.”

In 2018, she was also accused of homophobia after offensive Tweets resurfaced of her using the F-slur. When called out for the Tweets, she responded, not with an apology, but by writing “Lmfao” in a now-deleted Tweet and stating she used the slur “roughly 15 thousand times” in her life. Only after being further called out did she issue an apology for using derogatory terms.

The kind of groups and corners of the internet Doja Cat has found herself in, as well as her rude behavior towards the fans who helped her attain fame and the people she associates with, have all been very concerning. Even more concerning, though, is the fact that she often doubles down on her controversial behavior or seems to genuinely believe that saying “Oh, I was stupid” excuses egregious actions like writing a song with a racial slur for a title. Her behavior goes far beyond “absurdist” or “eccentric” and has become downright offensive, and it’s questionable how genuinely apologetic she is to the fans and multiple communities she has hurt with her language and actions.

(featured image: Noam Galai/Getty Images for YouTube)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.