'Riverdale' Star K.J. Apa Replaces Kian Lawley in 'The Hate U Give' After Racist Comments

K.J.
Actor K.J. Apa is set to replace YouTube star Kian Lawley as actress Amanda Stenberg's boyfriend in "The Hate U Give." Here, Apa is pictured attending The Paley Center For Media's 35th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles - 'Riverdale' at Dolby Theatre on March 25, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Updated | Two months after YouTube personality Kian Lawley was fired from Fox's The Hate U Give for using racial slurs, the production company found his replacement Tuesday: Riverdale star K.J. Apa.

The Hate U Give is based on author Angie Thomas' critically acclaimed young adult novel. Protagonist Starr Carter, portrayed in the film by actress Amanda Stenberg, becomes an activist after witnessing a white police officer shoot her unarmed black friend.

Lawley, a YouTuber and Daytime Emmy nominee, was initially cast to play Stenberg's boyfriend, Chris. But he was pulled from The Hate U Give after a now-deleted video surfaced January 26 of him using the N-word and racial stereotypes, Mashable reported.

Fox removed Lawley from the film on February 5, and according to Variety more than a week's worth of reshoots was approved by the studio to replace Lawley with Apa, who plays Archie on Riverdale. Fox confirmed to Newsweek that filming for the production is underway in Atlanta with Apa in the role as Chris.

"It was an unexpected [and] unique opportunity," Apa said in a statement issued to Newsweek. "But I am very grateful to be part of this important story."

Lawley addressed being dropped from the film in an apology posted to Twitter on February 6:

I respect Fox’s decision to recast this role for The Hate U Give as it is an important story, and it would not be appropriate for me to be involved considering the actions of my past. I understand the impact and I have grown a lot and learned since then.

— Kian Lawley (@KianLawley) February 6, 2018

"I am fully aware of the mistakes I have made and strive every day to become a better me than I was yesterday," he added. "From now on, I plan to use my voice for positive change."

Lawley and Thomas's representatives did not immediately return Newsweek's request for comment. But in February, Thomas appeared to reference Lawley's remarks via Twitter after fans drew criticism.

"Oh, [if] only you knew half of what I've gone through because of this," the book's author said. "Half of the tears that have been shed. The disappointment and heartbreak."

Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World suffered similar reshoot complications last year. Actor Kevin Spacey, who had completed shooting his role as J. Paul Getty, was removed from the film and replaced by Christopher Plummer weeks before its scheduled release. The decision to recast Spacey came after the House of Cards star was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple men last fall.

Update:​ This story has been updated to include a statement from K. J. Apa.