Source Music has issued an apology after Sowon, a member of the K-Pop girl group GFRIEND, posted pictures next to a Nazi mannequin.
Last Sunday, the idol posted now-deleted photos on Instagram and Weverse where she was seen cuddling with the mannequin and looking at it with a loving face.
“We offer our deepest apologies for the controversy caused by our artist GFRIEND’s behind-the-scenes video for the comeback show and the pictures uploaded by Sowon on social media,” the group’s management company said in a statement.
Source Music explained that the mannequin was part of a café set that GFRIEND used for their Walpurgis Night comeback show in November 2020. During this time, the group’s staff took several photos for the girls to post on their social media accounts.
The company also said that as internal inspection and discussions did occur prior to uploading the comeback show’s behind-the-scenes content, the photos were posted without being aware of the issue.
“We apologize for not checking the filming site for inappropriate props in advance, for not thoroughly inspecting the content during the filming and uploading process, and for not paying closer attention to historical facts and societal issues,” it said.
While Sowon has yet to say anything directly, Source Music said the singer was “very surprised” after she learned of the issue and deleted the photos immediately. Furthermore, she feels “deeply responsible and heartbroken” over uploading them.
The company also said that it removed all scenes with the mannequin from any existing videos.
Reception on Social Media
Before the apology came out, initial news of the photos brought forth backlash towards Sowon and GFRIEND.
Some expressed their relief about the apology and their support for Sowon, and pointed out that idols are human and also make mistakes.
On the other hand, others also agreed and said that Sowon should have known better, and that coddling her would not help the issue at hand.
Not The First Time
The incident with GFRIEND is not the first of its kind to occur with a K-Pop group. In 2014, BTS member and leader RM wore a hat with a badge resembling Nazi insignia.
When the photo went viral in 2018, it caught attention from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights group; the group commented on it, saying that symbol upon the hat was the Nazi SS Death Head logo.
Big Hit Entertainment, BTS’s management company, put out a statement apologizing for the photo; Big Hit also acquired Source Music in 2019, thus becoming a subsidiary of the company.
Fans On Edge
A few days after the apology, the Simon Wiesenthal Center released a tweet regarding Sowon’s photos, calling it a shame that another group “embrace[d] Nazi symbols,” referencing the BTS incident.
Several GFRIEND fans (known as Buddies) and BTS fans (ARMY) found it and began tweeting back at the account. Said tweets included insults to the center’s namesake, Simon Wiesenthal; Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor, passed away in 2005.
However, a number of fans were not happy with what their peers did, and voiced their opinions to try and stop the tweets, with many feeling that fans are putting K-Pop over their morals.