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Big Hit Entertainment runs some of the biggest K-pop groups, but people are starting to wonder why so many of their bands have used Nazi iconography.

Is Big Hit Entertainment encouraging anti-Semitism in their groups?

Big Hit Entertainment, the music label that represents Lee Hyun, BTS, and TXT, is currently under fire for allegedly enabling anti-Semitism. K-pop star Sowon recently posted photos of herself posing with a mannequin dressed as a Nazi soldier, and people are not happy. Here’s everything we know about the shocking event.

What went down?

After Sowon, a member of the girl group “GFriend” posted the photo in question to her Instagram page, she immediately came under fire. According to a statement from Source Music posted earlier this week, she deleted the photo “when she understood the significance of the image.” Source Music also claimed that “she is pained and feels deep responsibility for posting such an image.”

Source Music continued: “We want to apologize for not being able to check for inappropriate props in the set and not being able to thoroughly filter them during the shoot and uploading and failing to give attention to historical facts and linked social issues. We bow our head in apology for causing offense through the video and stills.”

People’s responses

Despite the apology, people weren’t quite ready to move on from the horrific event. One person tweeted: “sowon taking a picture with a nazi mannequin is terrible enough, but the fact that the nazi mannequin was part of a set they filmed on for the comeback is even more baffling.”

Another Twitter user drew from personal experience: “this is not to be excused. as someone who’s family has been affected by the nazi time i do expect an apology by both sinb and sowon but also gfriend. but in the end of the day this cannot be excused.”

Another user echoed those statements, writing: “As a fan from Poland, I feel really hurt and disgusted about this photos. My grand grandmother died in a Nazi camp, my Great uncle fought on the war. There is NO explanation, and there HAS to be an apology. I don’t care if she knew or not, that is not alright.”

People defending Sowon

Although the response from Sowon’s social media followers is resoundingly critical, some people have jumped to her defense. One person wrote: “Positive thinking, maybe she doesn’t know much about Nazi history, especially when she went to school about art/visuals, so she doesn’t really know much about history. But I still hope Sowon or other members apologize for the post.”

Another wrote: “Also to those blaming Sowon, I am sure she should’ve known better and Hitler’s reign is indeed taught about in Korean schools, but there is one thing being aware of Nazism and another thing about recognising the Nazi uniform.”

Many people added that, although World War II is taught widely in Asia, some Asian cities lack Jewish organizations that would usually raise awareness about the atrocities of the Holocaust. 

Has this happened before?

Though Sowon’s apology was seemingly heartfelt & convincing, it does raise some eyebrows that this incident might not be the first time this has happened under Big Hit Entertainment’s management. 

In 2018, Korean boy band BTS was subject to criticism after they posed in headgear that featured a symbol that looked eerily like Nazi iconography. And, as if things couldn’t get worse for BTS, one of their members also caused the group to be dropped from a TV appearance because he wore a shirt that appeared to celebrate the bombing of Nagasaki. 

Big Hit Entertainment came out with a statement following these events, stating: “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.”

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