Director of Girls’ Generation’s ‘Forever 1’ music video apologises after plagiarism allegations

"I am ashamed and sorry that I borrowed a design without permission," wrote director Shin Hee-won in response to claims that a video prop plagiarised a Tokyo DisneySea logo

Shin Hee-won, who directed Girls’ Generation’s ‘Forever 1’ music video, has issued an apology following allegations that one of the video’s props plagiarised a logo by the theme park Tokyo DisneySea.

On August 14, Shin shared a post on his production house storieswetell’s official Instagram page addressing allegations that he had plagiarised a logo used in Girls’ Generation’s recent music video for ‘Forever 1’, the title track of their comeback album of the same name.

In the music video, the girl group are seen performing on a parade float decorated with a prop bearing the number “15”, commemorating their 15th anniversary as an act. However, the logo drew comments for apparent similarities to the 15th anniversary logo of Tokyo DisneySea from 2016.

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Credits (L-R): Screengrab from Girls’ Generation Official YouTube Channel / Screengrab from Tokyo Disney Resort Official YouTube Channel

“First, I am sorry for causing trouble for members of Girls’ Generation and SM Entertainment due to this controversy about plagiarising a set design in the ‘Forever 1’ music video” he wrote, per KoreaJoongAngDaily.

“After being commissioned for this music video, I was involved in not only the planning and directing process but also the selecting the smallest props. Considering that, I am ashamed and sorry that I borrowed a design without permission.”

“I was looking up numerous designs for the girl group’s 15th anniversary and found images that I thought would be suitable,” explained Shin. “We referred to them for the set design without checking the original source of the image. We have now checked that it is the emblem design for Tokyo DisneySea’s 15th anniversary. I give my sincerest apologies for using the design without thorough research or confirmation.”

Shin added that he would pay more attention to research his references to prevent similar issues from arising in the future. He went on to apologise to Girls’ Generation, their label SM Entertainment, as well as fans of the group.

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At the time of writing, Girls’ Generation and SM Entertainment have yet to respond to Shin’s apology or comment on the issue.

The eight-member group returned on August 5 with the music video for ‘Forever 1’, along with their seventh studio album of the same title. The 10-track record marked their first group release in five years, putting an end to Girls’ Generation’s hiatus which began members TiffanySeohyun and Sooyoung’s departure from SM Entertainment.

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