Block B….who are they? They’re a Korean pop group consisting of seven members. They made they’re debut on KBS Music Bank on April 15, 2011 with the song “Freeze” (“그대로 멈춰라!”). Actually the song was banned. Twice in fact. Something about it being “too sexy for Korean television.” I think it had more to do with the actual lyrics of the song than the music video itself:
The name “Block B” is short for Blockbuster because they had hoped to make it big in the music industry. Focusing mainly on Hip Hop they do branch out to other genres of music and are experienced in dancing, singing, composing and rapping.
They recently released their single “Nalina” (which means “I Go Crazy”) and it was doing really well. Although 2 other tracks off of that same album “Welcome to the Block” were also banned (“LOL” and “Did You Or Did You Not”) for being rated as inappropriate.
The oldest member is Taeil who’s 21 years old. B-Bomb and Jaehyo are also 21. U-Kwon, Kyung, Zico, and P.O are 19.
But that’s not what we’re going to discuss here. No this is about the recent deal about their interview in Thailand. They recently had a visit to Thailand and the popular news source, RYT9, sat down with the boys to discuss about what they’re goals were, they’re background, etc. Their behavior during this interview is what got many people riled up. As they appear rude and bored. They’re goofing off, lying on the furniture, not minding anything that they were doing. At 3:30 they’re asked what they’re group name “Block B” stands for; Zico replied with “You Know this!“
I’ve read mistranslations of some parts of the interview. 6Theory reports this:
At 9:15 they’re asked what sets Block B apart from other hip hop artists. The reliable leader Zico once again answers this question by saying “Hip hop artists are usually ugly but we’re confident about our looks”. PO seems quite amused by this and raises his ass up in approval and claps his feet. Zico continues “and we sometimes have crazy bastards like this”. U-Kwon also voices his approval through spontaneous dance followed swiftly by a monkey impression. ADORKABLE RIGHT?
But then Allkpop reports:
At the 9:15 mark, the interviewer asked, “What separates you from other Korean hip-hop artists?” Zico then said, “We’re probably considered ugly to be idols. But we feel confident in our technical abilities.”P.O was then seen sliding back on the couch, pushing his legs up into the air and clapping his hands and feet together in unison. Zico continued, “And sometimes we have crazy clowns like him.” U-Kwon laughed and suddenly stood up and started dancing around, followed by a loud monkey imitation as he swung his arms and screeched.
I’m going to go with Allkpop’s report. Because it fits better with the interview and the 6Theory report was done by someone who obviously was against Block B’s actions. The words are mixed around a little. One makes them sound incredibly insensitive. The other makes them sound like they’ve thought about their self image and it’s not as bad.
But the part that really got things riled up was when they were talking about the flooding in Thailand (at the 12:32 mark in the interview). Zico replied saying, “I know that many people have it hard due to the flood. With this monetary aid, we hope that you will feel better. The only thing we have is money.” Another member asked how much money Zico had and he replied with, “About 7000 won?” Making the other members laugh. 7000 won is about $6 USD – which is hardly anything.
Personal opinion here from watching the video – these boys were being disrespectful, yes. Rude – yeah a little. Not understanding much Korean or Thai I watched the interview for their actions. What I saw were a group of boys acting like, well, BOYS. They looked a little nervous and were laughing to make themselves feel more comfortable. The deal with the money? It was a joke. I don’t have to know the language to see it was made as a joke. A bad joke, but still they didn’t mean it to be taken to these heights. What’s bad is that the interview was only translated to most people in parts. I found a page on Facebook with a translation of part of the interview. I’m going to post what they said on the page (View page here).
“T/N: The first part is a transcript of what has been said from 11:30~ of the same video caught in the controversy.
INTERPRETER: Tomorrow’s event will be, in a sense, a showcase for the sake of charity.
INTERPRETER: Charity, charity.
ZICO: Ah a donation.
KYUNG: Oh really? Ah~ so I’ve been doing something good.
INTERPRETER: Yes… What do you think about that?
KYUNG: It’s great.
ZICO: Tell us about the donations you usually make.
KYUNG: Normally, every month I take 200,000 won from my account. (US$180)
INTERPRETER: Where does it go?
KYUNG: To kids in Africa.. yes. Because donating is helping, I think making donations is something indispensable in life, and even when we succeed later on I’d like to donate half of all that I have.
INTERPRETER/OTHER MEMBERS: Half of all your fortune? You said that clearly. Oh~ Oh~
KYUNG: No no, half of my salary. For one month, one month.
ZICO: What~ If it’s going to be half of what you receive in one month, then in 3 months at most _______
(T/N: Here the interpreter cuts to the next question and you cannot hear what Zico said which made Kyung laugh.)
INTERPRETER: Would you happen to know that there were floods in Thailand?
ZICO: Yes, we know it..
KYUNG: Yes of course we know about it.
INTERPRETER: This is for the benefit of the victims of those damages.
BLOCK B: Ah~
ZICO: Ei of course we do, we know it. We think that everyone must have suffered greatly due to the floods, and we hope that this monetary compensation can help them recover. We have nothing but money…
KYUNG: How much did you say you have this time?
KYUNG: How much did you say you have this time?
ZICO: Me? 7,000… won… thereabouts? (US$6)*laughter*
How is it, isn’t that odd? The ‘monetary compensation’ that Zico said may refer to the donations which will be collected through the show. It looks like the 7,000 won comment was purely a joke. I think people have been severely misinformed about this issue. No matter how I look at it.
(T/N: This last paragraph shows the thoughts of the netizen who originally made the transcription of the video.)”
People have blown it way out of proportion. I agree with the netizen, I think people have been misinformed. And those who understood the interview misunderstood Block B’s intentions because they were being obnoxious. Moving on.
Allkpop reported about it about 5 days ago and said “With such comments, the Youtube video has quickly escalated in views, earning nearly 103,000 views at the time of this article with a 95% negative rating.” As you can see, it’s gone up a LOT over the past few days. And received a lot of negative feedback. I’d say it’s even more than 95% now. (Check out Allkpop’s article where I received a lot of my information: Block B stirs controversy with Thai interview, draws response from 2PM)
“If you are going to act in this despicable manner, I invite you to go home. It’s like you’ve never been taught any manners,” one Thai netizen commented.
An international viewer commented, “Even though I don’t understand what they’re saying, I think it’s really really rude to make fun of something that’s obviously not funny in the first place. It was so embarrassing and really mean. You just lost a fan, Block B.”
”Congrats Block B for making worldwide [anti-fans] not just in Korea but also in Thailand. As a Korean myself, I feel so terribly [ashamed] that you’re all Koreans. I sincerely [apologize] for Thai people.”
“Thais, please do not support them. They are bunch of rude and disrespectful jerks. I doubt the translator translated everything. They are just young boys? Well, they better learn their manners if they want to be successful. And they are not that young either. It’s actually very embarrassing that they are Korean.”
The issue has become so known that even 2PM members Nichkhun, Junho, and Chansung tweeted about it.
“As a Thai, I’m offended by those who talk about the flooding in Thailand without thinking. If you come to Thailand, rather than acting without thinking, please respect this country and only behave with a proper attitude.” -Nichkhun, 2PM
“Not everybody like that bro. Keep speaking the truth tho #prayers!” – Drunken Tiger, hip-hop legend, in response to Nichkhun
“I won’t say who, but those behaviors and attitudes make me ashamed as a fellow Korean. I wish they would learn that one bad action doesn’t just affect them, but also creates a dirty mess for those around them. I say this as a person and a sunbae.” – Junho, 2PM, after re-tweeting Nichkhun’s tweet
“Even if carelessness can seem inevitable even if you’re trying your best to avoid it, if you’re absent-minded and hurt others then act like you’re the best, that’s being careless. This is more than a mistake and proves that you’re that kind of person.. Shame on you.” – Chansung, 2PM
Later on Dongho from U-KISS even tweeted about it
“An artist worth 7,000 won.” – Dongho, U-KISS
After noticing all the criticizing comments targeted toward Zico 2PM’s Nichkhun updated his twitter message with a more encouraging comment:
“Please, don’t say things like ‘wish someone would die’ but hope they would learn. Like we all do, like I did from my own mistakes.” – Nichkhun, 2PM
Dongho even apologized (although why he bothered to involve himself, who knows?). But he was asked to take down his message as to not make things even worse for Block B. He took it down and tweeted later on:
“I think I tweeted without thinking too deeply. I’ll be more careful moving forward.” – Dongho, U-KISS
I’m sure 2PM fans as well as U-KISS fans felt that they should be on their side and well, if they’re against Block B’s actions their fans will be, too. The problem is people take things to the extreme, especially some fans.
Block B also made an apology to their fans and general public on their official fan cafe (Block B apologizes for their Thailand interview incident)
I apologize for our hurtful attitudes and our manners to all Thai fans and [South Korean] citizens who have given us so much love.
I’m very sorry that I acted in a childish, unreasonable manner throughout the entire interview.
It was an act that ignored the boundary between freedom and the line of decency. Again, I apologize to Thai citizens and fans.
We will deeply reflect upon our mistakes that led to a damaged national image and and the image of its artists.
I feel that we’ve shown so much unreasonable attitudes and actions so we bow deeply in apology.
In the future, as a public servant, we will work hard to show a more mature image. Learning from this event, we will act more conscientiously and responsibly as a South Korean artist.
I deeply apologize for my unreasonable attitude and creating a controversy due to my childish actions and not taking into account the huge pain and suffering of the Thai people due to the flood damage.
Although I’ve already become an adult, I feel so ashamed of my mistaken comment that did not consider the feelings of the many casualties of the flood and the national psyche.
I believe that no matter what excuse we give, our actions during the interview – sitting cross-legged on the sofa, chatting with members, damaging South Korea’s image abroad, and being unable to differentiate the line between what is right and what is wrong – were unforgivable.
I bow once again to apologize for our actions.
We are sorry that, thanks to our inconsiderate interview, we gave an injury to a not yet healed scar. I am incredibly ashamed. Sorry and sorry again.
We feel incredibly ashamed that we disappointed with our inconsiderate Thailand interview.
We apologize to all of the Thai citizens who suffered massive damages due to the flood.
Also, we apologize to the citizens of South Korea for failing to uphold the national image thanks to our dishonorable actions.
Watching the interview clip, we are feeling the mistakes that we have made and reflecting deeply.
We apologize once again and Block B will work hard to prevent repeating these inconsiderate and disrespectful actions.
I apologize from the bottom of my heart.
Apart from being public servants, I apologize for not stopping the actions of my fellow members as the older brother and creating a controversy out of our actions which were against basic manners.
Although we should have shown much more respect and manners as a Korean, we apologize again for disappointing our fans and Thai citizens with our inconsiderate actions.
We will reflect and reflect some more upon our actions. We apologize.
We will work hard to become a Block B which will not make these mistakes again.
First, I would like to say sorry.
There were many people saying, even before this interview, whether or not Block B was too free-willed, and we believe it is our fault that we did not listen to the criticism, however minute, and acting as though it was our strong point, despite being public servants in the eye of the whole nation. All of the members were immature.
I was honestly surprised when our fans sent us the interview clip through SNS [social networking services]. We are the people in the video…we were the disrespectful ones in that interview, I thought, and was filled with shame. I really could sympathize with those saying that we put South Korea to shame.
I once again apologize for both my refusal to control the actions of my younger brothers, and not paying attention to the interview.
I will work harder. I will work harder and repay everyone with better music. To our fans, Thai flood survivors, and everyone, we apologize again.
We will become a more mature Block B, and a more respectful Taeil. Sorry.
Hello, this is Block B’s Park Kyung.
I don’t have anything to say other than sorry.
We know that whatever we say, it will only be excuses.
All of our actions, from the beginning to the end of the interview, from our members’ immature actions and the joking, and our statements disregarding the severity of the incident, were out of line and we are ashamed and reflecting upon our mistakes.
We bow our heads again in apology.
We deeply apologize to the citizens of Thailand.
Also, we are very sorry to South Korea for degrading the nation’s image and shaming them.
We apologize for making people uncomfortable with our lack of respect and playful attitude.
Although I should’ve been the example to the younger members, I apologize for not being able to fulfill that role.
I could have set the interview on the right track, but I was irresponsible and participated in the proceedings and I apologize for embarrassing everyone watching the video.
I am reflecting upon my shameful actions and lack of basic manners during an interview and looking back upon myself. There are no excuses, nor explanations necessary.
I am thinking deeply about this huge mistake and will act with more thought in the future.
Showing his remorse, leader Zico shaved his head in self-reflection and remorse. I saw a post made on a Facebook page for them that I’m going to post here:
Interview Controversy” [Block B’s Zico, Head Shaving Today (20th)… Self-Reflection and Self-Restraint]
It was found out today (20th) that Block B’s leader Zico who is shrouded in controversy has resolved to shave his head with meaning of self-reflection.
A correspondent from Block B’s company BrandNewStardom told ENEWS on the 20th, “The members have shown tears from this first-time experience and are deeply regretting and reflecting. Zico who especially felt responsibility as the leader has gone through with the head shaving,” they revealed. Regarding henceforth promotions, they said, “Currently we are discussing within the company. We are also seriously considering changing Block B’s prickly free-spirited concept. – Block B
The group officially made their apology:
Block B is back but under suspension. Although they were put under the spotlight once again for appearing on a live broadcast of MBC MUSIC “Show Champion” only a day after the official apology. They stayed silent and focused only on the performance. Zico did not hide his shaved head, and once the song ended the group bowed 90 degrees to the audience and stepped out.
“After the controversy, the members and the people in the company had a long and heartfelt talk. We decided that the only thing Block B can do at this point is to show the public that the members are working even harder than before. As a rookie group, to suspend activities only after two weeks of its comeback is the same thing as a death sentence. We believed that if the members were to stop their activities, they may never get another chance to stand before the public, and so we made the difficult decision [to continue].” – Representative of BrandNew Stardom Entertainment
You might think after all of this that people would learn to let things go, the boys are obviously truly sorry, but people keep going on about their mistake, people are still making death threats and being childish.
Block B’s maknae P.O was hospitalized due to shock on February 23, 2012. Even after all the apologies, people are still threatening the group and P.O was in a panic mode the previous week but after several netizens made a petition for Block B’s suicide, P.O went under severe shock.
“It’s true that P.O is currently hospitalized. He still a young kid, who just recently graduated from high school. P.O has a very soft heart, so he’s been suffering from great distress while reflecting on his mistakes. He went into shock following the ever-growing attacks regarding the issue. However, we’re still waiting to hear the exact diagnosis to understand the state of P.O’s health.”
“They don’t deny their faults and are accepting all the criticisms. They can’t do anything else other than apologize for their wrongdoings. Currently, we’re very concerned about the members’ health and their families’ welfare.” – A Representative from Brand New Stardom Entertainment
Block B performed on M! Countdown on the 23rd but P.O did not due to him being hospitalized. P.O was diagnosed with a stress-induced schizophrenia.
The results of P.O’s diagnostic tests, who is currently admitted to a university hospital, has come out. The psychiatric expert’s opinion is that it’s stress-induced schizophrenia. It looks like the immediate cause of it would be excessive cyber-bullying.
We hope there will be no more criticisms arising from mere speculations. Although we had hoped to not expose the hospital, fans are already moving (to visit him). Because it is now the weekend, it would also be difficult to move him to another hospital.
The kids were ignorant and rash but the reactions have been too severe. At present they are very anxious and look very pitiful.
Block B was scheduled to perform for the rest of the week but the shows were cancelled for February 24th’s ‘Music Bank’, 25th’s ‘Music Core’, and 26th’s ‘Inkigayo’.
Music programs are ones that are watched by people all over the world, so doesn’t it seem that it would be problematic for a group who has done international fans wrong, to make an appearance?”Another staff member from the production team of one music program also stated, “Although it’s not to the point of banning their appearances, until the situation is resolved, Block B’s appearance will be restricted.
Mnet is also debating as to having the group perform on their M! Countdown show again next week.
We are well aware of the public’s criticisms. However, since there are quite a few days left until the next show, we haven’t yet started discussing any specific details yet.
Block B fans want to see their idols performing again. Initially Block B was the type of group that just acted wild and obnoxious. They were being themselves when they did the interview in Thailand. They were being the people that the fans knew. I myself didn’t start listening to Block B until I heard their song “Nalina” and found myself unable to stop listening to it. Just after hearing that one song I see the group as sort of free and don’t care about how they look or dress they just like to do their own thing and who cares what everyone else thinks. They’re crazy and obnoxious – but it’s who Block B is. To see them go from confident and strong guys to ones that just look full of remorse and this incident in Thailand and what happened afterwards hit the group really hard. It’s impacted them enough to change who they are. While I think they should’ve acted better while they were on the interview, I hate seeing people resorted to hiding their true selves and being restricted. What the boys needed was a reprimand – they needed to be put in their place for being disrespectful in their interview. But having people giving them death threats and wishing them dead – it’s too much for what they did. Jenny Hyun is a hypocritical racist and she got off with a slap on the wrist, but Block B gets put through hell because they made a joke and were acting like typical teenage boys? There’s something wrong with the world today. Yes Thai fans reserve the right to be disappointed and upset – but what a lot of them are doing I feel is way worse than anything Block B said or did! I don’t have anything against Thai people, but I really feel that they should let things go. The group apologized the best they could, just take it and let it go. There’s even a hate page on Facebook dedicated to Block B. I reported it (as so have my fellow dramatards). If you’re reading this, please report the page as well. American Kpop Fans posted about it on their wall and has been encouraging people to report it as well.
This page makes me sick. They call anyone who defends Block B “trolls”. Just look at some of this stuff..
Please support Block B by reporting this page. And instead liking pages that actually support the group.
The Hate group even posted an article stating that the suicide petitions never existed.
What it says is basically the petitions were non-existant and that people made them up. Despite the fact that there were actually people who witnessed them. They were probably deleted. Of course, it looks bad on Block B instead. Someone commented on the article and I followed the link they gave and it took me to a blog site that actually translated some of the comments that people made towards Block B. They’re quite sick and twisted.
I’ll post some of the comments. Block B is dealing with this every day. And people are still going on about it.
Disgusted? These are actual comments off of Block B’s official site translated. I don’t know how someone can hate them this badly…I don’t understand that degree of hate! If they were rapists, killers, terrorists – did any sort of criminal activity I could understand it. But for a joke? Are you fu-reaking kidding me? Do people find this stuff funny? Cyber bullying is no joke. The people that write these sorts of comments are the trolls – they probably spend all day at a computer writing things like this to different groups to make themselves feel better about themselves. Am I wrong for believing that Block B doesn’t deserve this? Nobody deserves to be given a death sentence. There are sick and twisted people out there in the world – people who do real wrong get let off and people who were rude but didn’t do any real wrong get all the hate? Are you trying to say you never made a mistake? Never acted wrongly in front of an audience that made you nervous enough that you tried acting in a way that was comfortable for you? Ohh…right…these people who write these sorts of things think they’re better than Block B.
Block B needs a chance to get back on their feet. I hate seeing a group isolated and ridiculed like this. People need to get over the situation. Violence and bullying are not the answer. Block B didn’t use any violence. They didn’t even bully. The situation is so out of hand it makes me sick to my stomach the more I read some of those comments. I really hope Block B can get back on the right track and for people to let the situation go. What’s done is done. They apologized, sincerely, and are trying their hardest to be better people. Give them the proper chance!! I may not be Thai or Korean but Block B did nothing that deserves this much hate. Let it go, there’s bigger things in the world to worry about than something this petty.
Block B fighting!! You do have supporters, just remember that!! –Crazy4you
“I’m very disappointed in 2PM right now for exacerbating things by attacking them via twitter as well. If they were more concerned with teaching them that what they said was wrong, they would have done it in a more private setting. Not for the whole world to see. Now 2PM’s young, impressionable fans feel like they are given the go ahead to be cruel to these poor boys. I am VERY disappointed that they themselves are showing no tact in this situation either. One of the members was hospitalized for Christ’s sake! Someone sent a petition for them to commit suicide? This is bullying at it’s worst and it needs to fucking stop. So SHAMEFUL! The ones attacking these boys need to reflect on their actions more than the boys themselves. And I don’t even like the group all that much, I’ve only heard one of their songs.” – Sleepninja
“Block B was acting rude and immature. They took a serious problem in Thailand and made fun of their low income while behaving like kids. Okay… and? Jenny Hyun, a KOREAN SONGWRITER suggested genocide on a entire race and I don’t see Korean news sites making a big deal out of it! In fact, I think most are staying low with that incident.
What kind of people ban celebrities for making rude statements? Aren’t people in general allowed a chance to screw up in their lives? Should we be cruel and insolent as to make threads, and stop supporting them? Why? They recognized their mistake, they apologized, they were honest about realizing they had been jerks. Darn it! They looked like they were being sentenced to death row!!!
It gets me mad to see a whole nation paying so much attention to a rude statement that has been taken back, and for which they have apologized already, instead of paying more attention to the Jenny Hyun racist rant!! That is far… I mean, far more worrisome. And if I were to be ashamed of a celebrity that “represents my people” it would be Jenny Hyun, not Block B.
Some fans were saying how they are ashamed Block B are Koreans… why? There are no rude people in Korea? Are Koreans not allowed to be rude in front of the world? Oooh, yet it is allowed to be racist and suggest to kill an entire race? I didn’t see many Koreans commenting on that… yes, there where some comments made by Koreans, but hardly blown out of proportion like it has been done with Block B.
“Various outlets reported that the idol group’s actions have stained the country’s reputation, and will ultimately lead to the collapse of Hallyu in Thailand.”
Korea entertainment industry and Korean-pop fans: Get off your high horse, and chill the hell out! Who said one artist or one pop group represents the whole Country? Are you dismissing other big Korean celebrities that represent the country on a bigger scale? Please, be more reasonable.” –JADEEYES