Pop star Avril Lavigne has defended the Japanese-themed music video for her new song Hello Kitty after she was accused of racism.
The Sk8er Boi hitmaker released a teaser for the promo online on Tuesday (22Apr14), and the clip features Lavigne in a candy store as four expressionless Asian girls pose as her backing dancers, exaggerating Japan's kawaii (cute) culture.
The footage quickly became a talking point on Twitter.com, with some critics accusing the star of using racial stereotypes. Hours after the release, the hashtag #avrilracist became a trending topic on the social media site.
Lavigne was left baffled by the allegations and took to her own Twitter page on Wednesday (23Apr14) to explain her decision to focus on Japanese culture.
She wrote, "Racist??? LOLOLOL (laugh out loud)!!! I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan.
"I flew to Tokyo to shoot this video specifically for my Japanese fans, WITH my Japanese label, Japanese choreographers AND a Japanese director IN Japan."