With Block B‘s recent visit to Thailand, the popular news source RYT9 sat down with the young men for an extensive interview about the group’s background, current activities and more.
What’s getting viewers around the world riled up is Block B’s playful attitude and a variety of comments they made throughout the video that came across as rude and insensitive.
The interview begins with the members still getting settled with the interview, with one member even sprawling himself across the coffee table. Then at 3:40, Block B was asked about the origins of their group name. After leader Zico explained, he turned to the translator and stated, “You know this!”
At the 9:15 mark, the interviewer asked, “What separates you from other Korean hip-hop artists?” Zico then said, “If you look at hip-hop artists, they’re very ugly. But we feel confident in our technical abilities.” The other members burst out laughing at Zico’s response, and P.O slid back on the couch, pushing his legs up into the air and clapped his hands and feet together in unison. Zico continued, “And sometimes we have crazy clowns like him.” U-Kwon continued laughing and suddenly stood up and started dancing around, followed by a loud monkey imitation as he swung his arms and screeched.
What has really gripped the attention and anger of viewers was the group’s commentary on the recent flooding in Thailand. At the 12:32 mark, the interviewer brought up the crisis, to which Zico replied, “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.” To this, another member chimed in, asking how much money Zico had, to which the leader answered, “About 7000 won?” which is roughly $6 USD. The other members laughed again.
Watch the interview below:
With such comments, the Youtube video has quickly escalated in views, earning nearly 103,000 views with a 95% negative rating. While some fans and viewers are defending Block B’s behavior as their typical trolling, some netizens assert that the group has gone too far with this interview.
“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.”
In response to the widespread hate, Korean netizens have also made an attempt to apologize and express their shame. ”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,” one commented. Another said, “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 original comments by Block B have since been widely translated (and mistranslated) then distributed through the internet, sparking fanwars and arguments from the Hottest fandom and Thai fans.
The issue has received so much attention that Nichkhun, Junho and Chansung of 2PM took to Twitter to comment on the matter.
A Thai citizen himself, Nichkhun tweeted, “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.”
In response to Nichkhun, hip hop legend Drunken Tiger tweeted, “Not everybody like that bro. Keep speaking the truth tho #prayers!”
Junho retweeted Nichkhun’s post then commented, “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.”
Chansung tweeted, “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.”
In the wake of the controversy, each member of Block B wrote an apology letter addressing their behavior during the interview. Read the official apologies here.