GFRIEND member Sowon has sparked controversy for sharing an image of her posing with a mannequin wearing a Nazi uniform.
Sowon (real name Kim So-jung) had shared two images of her with the mannequin on January 31. However, she took down the post soon after in part due to the backlash from fans, some of whom have accused the singer of being insensitive.
The singer’s label Source Music said in a statement on the Weverse app (as translated by CNN) that Sowon took down the post after she “understood the significance of the image”. It added that Sowon was “very shocked and immediately deleted the image, [and] she is pained and feels deep responsibility for posting such image[s].”
Take a look at the now-deleted image below.
Source Music also noted that its staff “did not sense an issue with the outfit on a mannequin” when the images were initially taken in November, when the girl group were on-site at a filming location. According to SCMP, the location in question is Café Zino, a popular German-themed restaurant and filming spot in the South Korean city of Paju.
“We want to apologise 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 detailed attention to historical facts and linked social issues,” the company said. “We bow our head in apology for causing offense through the video and stills.”
However, fans of GFRIEND have since uncovered other instances of Sowon and other members of the group allegedly making jokes about Nazism and Adolf Hitler. One such incident involves member SinB saving Sowon’s name on her phone as “Kitler”, supposedly a portmanteau of “Hitler” and Sowon’s family name “Kim”.
so from what i heard gfriend had a nazi soldier on their set then sowon decided to pose and take pics with it and only deleted it because 'the fans would be jealous' then sinb saved sowon on her phone as 'kitler' which is a mix of kim sojung and hitler, i honestly have no words. pic.twitter.com/vS9pOyYERX
— MINA¹²⁷ (@CHENJlCUB) January 31, 2021
Neither Source Music and Sowon have responded to the further allegations.
GFRIEND’s last release was their third studio album, ‘回:Walpurgis Night’, which dropped on November 9, 2020. The record featured the singles ‘Mago’ and ‘Apple’, and marked the final instalment of their ‘回’ series.
Source Music is a subsidiary of Big Hit Entertainment, the label behind international sensations BTS. The company was acquired by Big Hit in 2019 as part of its expansion efforts. Big Hit has since become a majority shareholder of Pledis Entertainment, home to boyband SEVENTEEN, and invested over USD60million into YG Entertainment’s media and advertising arm, YG Plus.