Jewish Group Demands Apology From K-pop Band BTS Over Wearing Nazi-style Hats

South Korean boy band BTS have been condemned by a Jewish human rights group after pictures emerged of them posing with Nazi-style hats and doing a photo shoot at a Holocaust memorial.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center have accused the hugely popular K-pop group of once again "mocking the past." The group recently canceled their appearance on a Japanese TV show after one of their members wore a T-shirt which appeared to depict the atomic bombing of Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In a statement, the Simon Wiesenthal Center posted links to images which emerged in 2015 of the band members wearing a hat featuring the symbol of the SS Death's Head Unit—the organization that oversaw the Nazi concentration camps during World War II—as well as posing at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. The pictures were used in a photobook of the band.

The statement also linked to video of them waving flags during one of their concerts which look “eerily similar” to a swastika.

“It goes without saying that this group, which was invited to speak at the U.N., owes the people of Japan and the victims of the Nazism an apology,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“But that is not enough. It is clear that those designing and promoting this group’s career are too comfortable with denigrating the memory of the past. The result is that on young generations in Korea and around the world are more likely to identify bigotry and intolerance as being ‘cool’ and help erase the lessons of history. The management of this group, not only the front performers, should publicly apologize.”

GettyImages-1052123674 South Korean pop group BTS members stand on scene after they performed during a Korean cultural event as part of South Korean President official visit in France, on October 14, 2018 in Paris. The band have been criticized by a Jewish human rights group for posing in hats with a Nazi-style symbol. YOAN VALAT/AFP/Getty Images

The band were previously criticized after one of ther members, Jimin, was photographed wearing a T-shirt with the words “Patriotism our history Liberation Korea” next to an image of an atomic bomb mushroom cloud.

As reported by The Guardian, the T-shirt also showed Koreans celebrating their liberation from Japanese rule in August 1945, the month the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundred of thousands of people.

The band were later dropped from their planned appearance on TV Asahi’s Music Station as a result of the controversy.

“We have seen news that a T-shirt worn by one of the members has set off a furor. After asking their record company about this, we made the decision to postpone their appearance on our November 9 show,” TV Asahi said in a statement.

Having become one of the biggest boy bands in Asia in the past few years, BTS are now making waves in the U.S., scoring two number one albums on the Billboard Hot 200 chart in 2018.

Editor's Pick