The Korea Herald


Stray Kids hit with racism in Met Gala photo line

By Kim Jae-heun

Published : May 9, 2024 - 15:36

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Stray Kids (JYP Entertainment) Stray Kids (JYP Entertainment)

Despite the ever-expanding presence and influence of K-pop around the world, K-pop artists and fans are still affected by racism.

K-pop boy group Stray Kids recently experienced racial discrimination at the hands of local photographers during the 2024 Met Gala, one of the biggest annual fashion events in the US, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on Tuesday.

Stray Kids, who were invited to the event as the brand ambassadors of Tommy Hilfiger, were posing for photos when photographers began making apparently racist and discriminatory remarks.

“I’ve never seen so many unemotional faces in my life,” said one of the photographers in a video that went viral among K-pop fans on social media later in the day. Other photographers went on to say, “They’re robots,” “Arigato,” and “Everybody jump” -- seemingly implying the boy band members are short.

“Asian celebrities facing racism in the US is not new. It happened to bigger-name K-pop artists like BTS and Blackpink, too. It’s a mistake to think that the rising popularity of K-pop will protect the artists from racism,” said music critic Kim Do-heon on Thursday.

“K-pop is still a minor genre in the US and it is only popular among the core fans there.”

Last September, French security guards at the M! Countdown event in Paris were accused of being racist towards fans.

A number of K-pop fans who attended the concert wrote on X that the guards were particularly aggressive to Asian fans, who were forced to open their bags for inspection and leave if they were found to have a camera. The posts also alleged that the security guards took no action against white people who were taking photos with their cameras.

BTS openly protested against racism in 2020 by posting a message online saying, “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”