Just when you think there’s no stopping 2PM and its rise to fame, an unfortunate setback has caused them to stumble in their way, especially their leader, Park Jaebeom. As a leader, he’s supposed to be the rock that holds everyone together, but what happens when people are the ones who throw rocks against him?
Just a recap of the controversy about Jay that erupted yesterday:
Messages he left to his friends in his myspace page in 2005 was discovered, and it contains highly offensive words and sentiments against Korea.
What outraged people particularly were his words saying “Korea is gay,” “I hate Koreans”, “I want to go back to the States again”, “Korea is whack… but everyone thinks I’m like the illest rapper when I suck nuts at rapping…” And in 2007 he wrote: ““I’m like a gay version of myself.”
JYPE rep has stepped forward and said, ““Currently JaeBum is reflecting on his own actions. Do understand it as a thoughtless act of someone still young.”
And most recently, Jay issued an apology, saying,
“I would like to apologize for the words I typed on myspace a few years ago. Sorry. I would like to explain my feelings then and apologize for them
I returned to Korea in Jan 05 when I was a high school student. Being born and bred in America, I had hardly any understanding of Korea, and when I first came to Korea, I couldn’t speak the language, couldn’t adapt to the food, and didn’t know and didn’t understand Korean culture….”
…”Looking back, I’m really sorry and embarrassed for writing such things. I have since adapted to Korea and completely changed my mind set. I’m thankful for all everything I went through so that I could perform on stage. I posted those words 4 years ago and I have completely changed since then. Our family, Hottest and our 2PM members, I’m really sorry to everyone as well as everyone who loves 2PM.”
This is not the first time an artist caused a stir because of what was discovered by netizens or what was posted by the artist themselves over the Internet, a place we all know is public and easily accessible.
A good example is Jessica H.O., a budding singer at that time whose career took quite a nosedive because of what she posted (in a message to SNSD’s Tiffany) about BOA, calling her “gay” and dissing Tiffany’s girl group that was about to debut. She also called Daniel Henney a “fag.”
Christina Chung, a Korean artist based in the U.S. got serious flak from BoA fans when she commented via Twitter that BoA’s English made her “cringe.” Immediately after, she posted an apology, admitting that what she just said was harsh and that BoA is an artist that she respects.
Kim Daul is a Korean model who’s very outgoing and doesn’t give a damn about speaking her mind, or using her body to express herself. She was bashed by netizens when she posed nude in a magazine, saying that she’s a disgrace to Korea.
Food for thought: Here’s what Kim Daul wrote on her blog as a reaction to criticisms she received…
“seriously korean ppl
stop bullying me
u know what
i have a life
i dont owe you anything
and you dont own me
i dont mean harm, and im just happy to share
my point of views or what i like, its not to offend or to be punk
Korea is Korea. its not the world…
its so silly to restrict korean girl has to be a certain way
this is superiority complex and complex is not …. flattering
and before im korean,
Vera Hohleiter, a panel member of the popular KBS2 TV show, “Chat With Beauties” also called “Misuda” published a book in Germany, apparently highlighting her negative experience in Korea. Some of the things she said are:
“As a well-mannered and well-educated person from Europe, I put in a great deal of effort to appreciate the Korean society, but everyday I counter something that makes me fail to do so.”
“Koreans have a bad taste for gossiping about foreigners. When they spot them in a public place such as in the subway, they delve into a very detailed criticism of their appearance and do it in a loud voice.”
In the U.S., Miley Cyrus caused a controversy when she was seen in a photo doing a pose that was supposedly mimicking how the Chinese/Asian people look. In a less politically correct term, they were doing the “chinky eyed” pose.
I was supposed to write about this issue yesterday, when it was still at the heat of the moment, but I realized that with my 2PM and Jay bias I would only be talking about how I want to give Jay a huge hug and tell him that everything’s going to be all right. As everyone and the readers of this blog know, I am a HUGE fan of Jay. You can even see in some articles gifs or photos of Jay even when the post is not about him. I picspam people over at Twitter ginormous amounts of Jay pics. So I figured, I should step back and look at the situation from an outsider’s point of view.
“He was YOUNG when he wrote it.”
There were arguments that Jay was young and immature when he wrote it, therefore we shouldn’t be making it a big deal. On the other hand, being “young” should not be always made as an excuse. He was what, around 16, 17 at that time? Calling an entire nation “gay” and saying that you hate its people is just wrong. Period. Even if it was another country or even if it was a small group of people—the fact is, even though he is (quite) young, he surely knows what is offensive or not. Regardless of whether he understood Korea and its culture or not, he certainly wouldn’t want to be called “gay” or “whack” himself. Double whammy because the words he used were offensive to the gay community as well.
On the other hand, Nichkhun, with his Thai-Chinese and American background, would’ve had hell of a hard time adapting to Korea as well. But did we hear or see him complain? I’m sure Khun did, being human like the rest of us and being put in that situation, but he handled his loneliness and angst better than Jay did. His family was also far away from him, he didn’t know the language and Korean ways and he didn’t have a drop of Korean blood in him. He was young when he was plucked from his comfort zone too. Jay and Khun are different people who express themselves differently, but it only means that such an ordeal can be handled in another way.
“That was 2005, 4 years ago! He was born and raised in America…”
For netizens, the issue here is not the year when he wrote it. It’s WHAT was written that matters. About him being raised in the States, it’s not like he didn’t have access to knowledge on all things Asian, even if it’s not about Korea. In his myspace, most of his friends are of Asian descent. Try to put yourself in the Korean netizens’ shoes. How would you feel if someone, who is Korean himself, said those words against your country?
We were not in Jay’s position when he wrote it so we really would not understand how he felt. There were a lot of things going on, he felt vulnerable and lost in a place he didn’t understand, AND where there were people who couldn’t understand him. On top of that, he was feeling the pressure of practicing every single day, working hard for years yet feeling as if his efforts were not paying off. His musical and dance style were changed, and he couldn’t express himself. He was in the middle of trying to find his identity, as a Korean American, more so on what being a Korean really means. He felt lost. He didn’t know who to turn to, nor did he know how to keep it all in. Having all that hardship bottled up will eventually explode once feelings of frustration and loneliness becomes too overwhelming.
Wooyoung’s message in his cyworld: Hottest… Thank you. 2PM. We aren’t 7 people. We are one.
Jay’s fans are now doing everything they can to control the damage. Petitions, message of support are being made. And it’s quite obvious from the people’s reactions that they have “forgiven” and “accepted” Jay’s apology. On the other hand, I agree with what ahhyala said in his article: Double Standard when it comes to Celebs? He writes, “Netizens were very harsh and mean to her even though she apologized and many KPOP fans still hold comments she made before her debut against her. But with Jaebeom it seems many are already over the issue in such a short time. Why is there such an obvious double standard? ….If we can easily forgive Jaebeom, we should be able to get over Jessica H.o’s comments, especially since BoA doesn’t even care.”
My own personal thoughts on this issue:
Jay made a mistake. Whatever excuse or reason, it’s a fact. Now what’s been said has been said, what’s done is done—there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Netizens should not judge Jay based on that one incident. People change. Jay has been nothing but honest then, and you can see that he’s still honest ’til now. The boy was being real. But people shouldn’t be quick to side with netizens, or to Jay. Both sides have valid reasons for feeling the way they do. Netizens were outraged because of his harsh words, and in the manner which he said them. It’s understandable because even when you’re in another country, there are ways to learn and appreciate your motherland. In my high school we have Asian culture festivals and such to remind us where we came from. BUT Jay is aggrieved, because what he felt back then is NOT what he feels right now. Newsflash: Celebs are NOT pefect. They say crap just like how netizens are free to say crap about celebs. It is what it is. Let’s all just move on.
credits: Kim Daul’s blog at iliketoforkmyself.blogspot.com, koreatimes.co.kr, K Bites