How Fans Enable K-Pop Controversies


Angelina Balusek, Editor

As a K-Pop fan myself, I can say the amount of fans who will condone racism, homophobia, and antisemitism is ridiculous. This isn’t just for K-pop, artists and social media influencers all around the world have fans that apologize for their wrongdoings (Shane Dawson, Doja Cat, MGK, etc.). Here’s just a few K-Pop controversies and why outsiders view their fans as “crazy”:


TWICE Chaeyoung

Starting off with the most recent controversy, Korean girl-group TWICE member Chaeyoung posted pictures of her wearing multiple different anti semitic shirts on her own Instagram account earlier this month. When people started to call her out, she posted a two sentence apology on her Instagram story, but then the next day posted another picture with another anti semitic outfit on. For someone who “doesn’t know” about how harmful their outfits were, why would you keep making the same mistake, and who didn’t let her know before posting? This past weekend, TWICE’s company JYP Entertainment announced that she would be going on a hiatus from all promotional activities. I adore TWICE, but I refuse to back-up Chaeyoung.


aespa Giselle/RedVelvet Wendy

aespa and RedVelvet are girl-groups under SM Entertainment, both very popular in the K-Pop industry. One member from aespa, Giselle, was filmed singing a song by SZA in which she said a racial slur. Fans immediately jumped to her side, defending her by saying “she didn’t know what it meant” and “English is not her first language”. The thing is, Giselle studied at an all English school growing up, and is very present on social media. Chances are she knew what it meant, and even though she apologized for the mistake, it’s not for fans outside of the African American community to accept the apology. On another hand, we have RedVelvet’s Wendy, who publicly made fun of the African American community by mocking their speech (calling it “gangster” and “talking black”) and culture on live television on multiple occasions. There’s no question that Wendy said what she meant, and to this day she is still making the same mistakes. Why fans continue to support these two members is beyond me. 


Cultural Appropriation in Music & Styling

Tons of artists in K-Pop sadly culturally appropriate other cultures in their music and styling. Most of the members in Blackpink (and tons of other groups) have worn cornrow braids on multiple occasions, as well as worn cultural outfits such as NATURE in their song “Rica Rica”, in which they used South Asian headpieces and sounds in their album. Cultural appropriation has taken the K-pop industry by storm, and it’s up to the fans to call out the artists on their mistakes, not defend them because “they didn’t know”.