BTS controversy row: management apologizes over A–bombing t-shirt

BTS attends Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018 on December 31, 2017

By Pritha Mallick

Big Hit Entertainment, the management agency of the global icon BTS apologized after photographs of a band member wearing a t-shirt that appeared to celebrate the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki during the Second World War caused an uproar.

The official statement, uploaded on the agency’s official Facebook page read, “Big Hit has contacted associations in Japan and Korea representing those affected by the atomic bombings to provide explanations and apologies to anyone who may have been distressed or in any way affected.”


The controversy came to light when the band, had an appearance at a Japanese television show canceled last week over a 2017 photograph taken of BTS member Park Jimin was seen wearing a t-shirt that commemorated the Korean liberation with text “Patriotism our history liberation Korea” repeated along with an image of atomic bomb cloud over Nagasaki.

The agency’s official statement mentions, “the outfit had not been designed originally to injure or make light of those affected by the use of atomic weapons, we would like to offer our sincere apologies not only for failing to take the precautions that could have prevented the wearing of such clothing by our artist that inadvertently inflicted pain on anyone affected by the use of atomic weapons, but to anyone who may have experienced distress and discomfort by witnessing the association of our artists with imagery related to atomic bombings.”

Earlier this week, Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization demanded an apology over photographs taken in 2015 in which group leader RM is seen wearing a cap featuring the symbol of Death Head Units – an SS organization that administered the Nazi concentration camps.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Los Angles-based center’s dean has reportedly accused the group of “mocking the past” and demanded that group ”owed the people of Japan and the victims of the Nazism an apology.”
According to the letter released few hours on Tuesday states, “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.”

It was reported that Simon Wiesenthal Center had since then welcomed the apology given to them officially by BigHit.
The band which is currently in its Japan leg of their Love Yourself World Tour has apologized over the controversy. According to the Korea Times, BTS’s Jimin was reported to have said: “my heart really aches … not only army [as BTS fans are collectively known] but also many people around the world must have been surprised and concerned over recent controversies.”
“I will never forget our first Tokyo Dome concert. I am so happy to be here with you. I hope you feel the same” he added.

The global pop culture icon, known for their socially aware lyrics on the various elements of youth experience shot to international fame in 2015. They also broke the 12-year record of being the first K-Pop band to chart in the U.S. album charts in May.