BTS’s agency apologizes over K-Pop band member’s A-bomb shirt

A man holds leaflets denouncing South Korean boy band BTS outside Tokyo Dome where the band’s concert is planned to be held, in Tokyo on Tuesday, November 13. (Reuters)
Updated 14 November 2018

BTS’s agency apologizes over K-Pop band member’s A-bomb shirt

SEOUL, South Korea: The agency for K-pop superstars BTS apologized Wednesday for members wearing a T-shirt depicting the explosion of an atomic bomb and a hat with a Nazi emblem.

Japanese TV broadcasters recently canceled planned appearances in that country after images went viral of the musician wearing the shirt. The South Korean band ran into more trouble after news surfaced that another member wore a hat featuring a Nazi symbol in a magazine photo book and band members flew flags with what appeared to be the Nazi swastika during a past concert.

“We would like to again offer our sincerest apologies to anyone who has suffered pain, distress and discomfort due to our shortcomings and oversight in ensuring that these matters receive our most careful attention,” the band’s agency, the Big Hit Entertainment, said in a statement

The T-shirt portrayed an atomic bombing juxtaposed with the celebration of Korea’s 1945 liberation from Japan at the end of the World War II. The United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before Tokyo’s surrender.

Before its division into North and South Korea after the liberation, the Korean Peninsula was colonized by Japan from 1910-1945. Many in both Koreas still harbor strong resentment against the Japanese colonial masters. But in South Korea, it’s extremely rare for anyone to publicly celebrate or mock the atomic bombings.

BTS’s agency said the A-bomb shirt’s wearing was “in no way intentional” and that it wasn’t designed to “injure or make light of those affected by the use of atomic weapons.” It said it still apologizes for “failing to take the precautions that could have prevented the wearing of such clothing by our artist.”

Regarding the hat furor, it said all apparel and accessories used for the photo book were provided by a media company involved in its publication. It said the flags in question were aimed at symbolizing South Korea’s restrictively uniform and authoritarian educational systems, not Nazism.

“We will carefully examine and review not only these issues but all activities involving Big Hit and our artists based on a firm understanding of diverse social, historical and cultural considerations to ensure that we never cause any injury, pain or distress to anyone,” the agency statement said.

The seven-member band, which has worldwide following, was the first South Korean artists in May to top the Billboard 200 albums chart with “Love Yourself: Tear.” The band began its Japan tour earlier this week.

South Korean K-pop and movie stars are extremely popular in Japan and other Asian countries.

‘The Dead Don’t Die’ drags zombie film genre back to its roots

Updated 38 min 42 sec ago

‘The Dead Don’t Die’ drags zombie film genre back to its roots

  • The “Dead Don’t Die” explores relations between humans in the face of an apocalypse
  • Each zombie receives a different death

CANNES: “Paterson,” the last film that the legendary, idiosyncratic director Jim Jarmusch screened at Cannes, was a love letter to poetry, small town life and the depth of soul that exists inside all of us. He’s followed that up with a zombie film — “The Dead Don’t Die” and he’s brought some stars along for the ride to explore how a small town deals with its own demise.

Zombie films and television shows have, since their resurgence after “28 Days Later” (2002), been as omnipresent as they’ve been impotent. Before them all, the films of George Romero —namely “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and its follow up “Dawn of the Dead” (1978) — were explorations of racism, consumerism and broader society. The “Dead Don’t Die” drags the genre back to those roots, tackling the impending climate-driven catastrophe, the bad actors who hurtle us towards it and the way we treat each other in the face of a potential apocalypse.

As nihilistic as it is at points, “The Dead Don’t Die” is the most irreverent and playful Jarmusch has been since “Coffee and Cigarettes” (2003), with a cast just as star-studded. Recent collaborators, such as Adam Driver, feature alongside long-time friends Bill Murray, the Rza of the Wu Tang Clan, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi and Tom Waits. Young stars Caleb Landry Jones and Selena Gomez stare down death, clinging to the music and pop culture they love. For many of the film’s players, their personas are standing in the place of fully drawn characters, with meta jokes scattered throughout that lampoon the actors and even their relationships with Jarmusch. The film consciously references other zombie films as well, though none of that awareness is enough to help the poor souls of Centerville. 

As the zombies, each of whom audibly yearns for the thing they loved most in life (Coffee! WiFi! Fashion!) come for the townspeople one by one, death reaches them in different ways. For some, including the racist, hateful Farmer Miller (Steve Buscemi), death is called justice. Even as some townspeople manage to fight back, the dead never stop — as Driver’s character continually reminds us, this is all going to end badly. 

As the bodies pile up, a voice on the radio denies the catastrophe was caused by greedy businessmen. Tom Waits, who plays a hermit who lives in the woods and is the only one who seems to see anything clearly, can’t offer a cure, only a diagnosis — a summary of life that is too explicit to print.