MANILA, Philippines – Big Hit Entertainment, the company that manages K-pop sensation BTS, apologized late Tuesday, November 13 (in the Philippines), and took responsibility for an old magazine photoshoot wherein the group’s members wore hats featuring Nazi imagery.
“Big Hit bears all responsibilities for not providing the necessary and careful support to our artist that may have prevented these issues, and we would like to make clear that our artists, especially due to their extensive schedules and the complexities of on-site conditions, are in no way responsible for any of the issues outlined above,” the company said in a Facebook post in Hangul. Entertainment and pop culture site Vulture posted translated excerpts of the statement.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a non-profit human rights group, earlier criticized BTS for “mocking the past.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based center, said BTS should apologize to both Japan and victims of Nazism, The Guardian reported.
Cooper was referring to an earlier controversy in Japan where the group’s scheduled television appearance was cancelled at the last minute after pictures of singer Jimin wearing a shirt with a photo of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima resurfaced online.
The shirt, which also had Korean independence slogans on it, was apparently meant to commemorate the liberation of Korea from Japan, Vulture noted.
“But that is not enough. It is clear that those designing and promoting this group’s career are too comfortable with denigrating the memory of the past. The result is that young generations in Korea and around the world are more likely to identify bigotry and intolerance as being ‘cool’ and help erase the lessons of history. The management of this group, not only the front performers, should publicly apologise,” Cooper added.
Big Hit did not apologize on behalf of BTS but instead claimed the responsibility themselves.
“We would like to offer our sincere apologies for inadvertently inflicting pain and distress to anyone affected by totalitarian regimes in the past by failing to strictly review the clothing and accessories that our members were made to wear, as well as to anyone who may have experienced distress and discomfort by witnessing an association of our artists with imagery reminiscent of political extremism,” the management group said.
BTS is currently on their world tour. It’s been a huge year for the group, with them bagging awards and accolades left and right. – Rappler.com