In an Instagram video posted on Monday, Guzman — who plays firefighter Eddie Diaz on the Fox procedural — first said, “I do not condone the use of the N-word by any non-Black person. That includes all Latinos. That’s not our word.” (He also pointed out that stars like Cardi B and Fat Joe have used the word in the past without experiencing the same backlash.) He added that when he used the word “slurs,” “I came from an angry place. I couldn’t think straight, and I misspoke.” He was defending his fiancée Chrysti Ane and his one-year-old son, he said, who were facing death threats and “foul-ass language” from people online.
He meant to say “stereotypes” instead of “slurs,” he went on to say, reiterating that “amongst friends, can friends make fun of each other? Yes.” But he added, “I’m not here to bring anybody down,” before underlining the fact that his fiancée used the word years ago, when she was a teenager: “I think she’s grown as a woman.” He went on to say: ‘I apologize to those that I have offended and misrepresented myself by using the wrong term… I will continue to grow, and continue to help out the community.”
The controversy began when Guzman defended his fiancée in an Instagram Live on Sunday after old tweets of hers were unearthed in which she used the N-word. Guzman stated that he and his friends of other ethnicities “call each other slurs all the time. We don’t get butthurt at all because we know the actual person. We know who each other are.” Guzman’s 9-1-1 co-star Oliver Stark condemned Guzman’s words, saying “there is absolutely no excuse for the use of the N-word… I absolutely don’t agree with it being used by anyone else under any circumstances.”
Aisha Hinds, who plays firefighter Hen on 9-1-1, tweeted in response as well: “How I FEEL daily is a perpetual state of GRIEF. There’s sadly no version of this indefensible discourse that doesn’t exacerbate that grief. There’s legions of learned behaviors that need to be named and neutered so we don’t continue to give life to them. May we know & DO BETTER.”