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

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

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.

‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

Audrey Hepburn was one of the most fascinating Hollywood heroines. (File/Screengrab)
Updated 02 December 2020

‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

CHENNAI: Audrey Hepburn was one of the most fascinating Hollywood heroines – undoubtedly in the class of bubbly Ingrid Bergman, charismatic Julie Andrews, romantic Grace Kelly, or even the reclusive Vivien Leigh.

Known for her amazing range, she played Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl in “My Fair Lady” (adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”), and Hepburn stole our hearts, while frustrating noted phonetician Prof. Henry Higgins’ (Rex Harrison) efforts to tame the wild girl.

All these and more have been compiled in a gripping documentary, “Audrey: More Than an Icon,” directed by British 26-year-old Helena Coan.

An Oscar winner for “Roman Holiday” and as known for her style statements as she was for her myriad roles, each performed with unforgettable moments, Hepburn was, behind all these popping flashbulbs and glitzy costumes, a woman of spirited grit.

With a string of tragic events behind her – the father she adored abandoned the family when she was a child – she made peace with all this and ultimately walked away from the allure of Hollywood to dedicate her last years to caring for children.

It could not have been easy to embark on a subject such as Hepburn, fiercely private that she was. But producers Nick Taussig and Annabel Wigoder along with Coan somehow managed that – with the clinching point coming after a meeting with her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer.

The interviews in the film (available on DVD and digital download formats) are seamlessly woven into Hepburn’s other talent, ballet. Trained as a dancer, she even won a scholarship to the Rambert School of Ballet in London, but her height played spoilsport.

Coan manages to give us the black along with the white in her subject’s life, and a fair balance has been maintained.

In interviews that Hepburn gave, she talks about plunging into showbiz and the joy she derived from it. But her miscarriages were heart-breaking. Her divorces were terrible, and she had a lifelong wish to have smaller feet, a smaller nose, and to be blonde.

The documentary is peppered with pulsating points and will be a revelation for a generation that may not have been exactly familiar with what Hepburn was all about. Yes, it may be somewhat hagiographical, but that is a small price to pay for the boxful of bounties.