K-pop star Sowon issues divisive apology after posing with Nazi mannequin

sowon gfriend kpop band

K-pop star Sowon has apologised after posing with a mannequin wearing Nazi clothing for photos.

The photos were taken in November 2020 while GFriend, the band in which Sowon is a member, were filming a music video. In the pictures, Sowon is seen cuddling a mannequin which is wearing the same German military uniforms worn by Nazis

Sowon posted the images of herself and the mannequin to her Instagram, where they quickly came under fire. One picture showed Sowon closing her eyes and putting her head on the mannequin’s shoulder, and the other featured her touching its face. 

The images have since been deleted.

The group’s management firm Source Media – which was acquired in 2019 by Big Hit Entertainment, the backer of K-pop superstars BTS – issued an apology for the photos. 

In a statement posted to Weverse, Big Hit’s fan app, Source Media said: “We deeply apologise for the fact that our artist GFriend’s behind-the-scenes video … and the photo uploaded by member Sowon caused controversy.”

Sowon claims she was ‘shocked’ when she realised what the Nazi costume was.

Source Media told CNN that Sowon deleted the post “when she understood the significance of the image”, and she was “very shocked”. Their statement said: “She is pained and feels deep responsibility for posting such image.”

The firm said the photos were taken during a video shoot when GFriend was filming at a cafe in the city of Paju, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. Source Media said staff “did not sense an issue with the outfit on a mannequin”.

The company said: “We want to apologise for not being able to check for appropriate props in the set and not being able to thoroughly filter them during the shoot and uploading and failing to give detailed attention to historical facts and linked social issues.

“We bow our head in apology for causing offence through the video and stills.”

Some social media users criticised Sowon for her post.

Some people online criticised Sowon for the post, with many people calling for a more direct apology from the star. 

Other GFriend fans – also known as “buddies” – defended the singer, claiming that she might not know the uniform’s significance. Some called for buddies not to abandon the group and to not post anything that could hurt other fans.