An Australian K-pop star has stoked anti-Chinese sentiment in South Korea after innocently messing up a New Year’s greeting.
Danielle Marsh, a member of the girl group NewJeans, sparked widespread backlash in Korea after referring to the Lunar New Year as ‘Chinese New Year’.
The 17-year-old Newcastle-born teenager made the mistake while messaging fans on the group’s own subscription app, Phoneing.
Australian K-pop star Danielle Marsh (pictured) of girl group NewJeans has stoked anti-Chinese sentiment in South Korea after innocently messing up a New Year’s greeting.
“What Do Ru Bunnies Do for Chinese New Year?” she wrote, before quickly deleting it when she realized her mistake.
It is common for many Western countries to refer to Lunar New Year as “Chinese New Year”, but in Korea it is considered highly offensive and is seen as a pro-Chinese and anti-Korean statement.
In online comments translated from Korean to English by netizenKorean netizens criticized the Australian star in the comment section of major websites and news forums.
“So she’s Australian which means it’s not like she didn’t understand the English she was writing in…” one wrote. ‘I wish these agencies would train these idols in something other than singing and dancing and give them a basic meaning. It’s so embarrassing that she even posted the word “Chinese”.
The 17-year-old star sparked widespread backlash in Korea after referring to the Lunar New Year as ‘Chinese New Year’ in a post on her group’s social media app.
‘A pity [NewJeans’] member knew no better than to call it Chinese New Year when he debuted to earn his money in our country,” wrote another.
‘I still can’t forgive them for Chinese New Year… I don’t want to see them again,’ another raged.
“Please keep groups limited to Korean members only or give them a proper history education,” another wrote. ‘I liked this group for their good vibes, but I’m totally above them for this. I will continue to support groups with only Korean members.’
“I bet he has Chinese blood somewhere in his family line,” added one.
Korean netizens criticized the Australian star in the comment section of major news forums and websites.
Danielle has since issued a humiliating apology for the mistake on the group’s official Instagram account.
“Although I deleted it as soon as I realized my mistake, my message had already been delivered to many people and it became impossible to undo,” he explained.
‘Because Lunar New Year is a holiday celebrated by many countries and regions, including our country [Korea]my choice of words was inappropriate and I am deeply sorry,” he continued.
I also want to say that I am so sorry to the Bunnies and many other people who must have been disappointed or hurt by my words.
‘I will not forget this incident and will try to be more careful with my words and actions in the future. Once again, I apologize,’ he finished.
‘Please keep groups limited to Korean members only or give them a proper history education,’ one Korean fan raged.
While Koreans have been reluctant to forgive, international K-pop fans have been far more understanding.
We also call it Chinese New Year in my country!! Please don’t apologize!! Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!’ wrote a fan.
“In Australia we call it Chinese New Year, no need to apologize darling,” added another.
The Newcastle-born star has become one of the biggest names in K-pop in the past year and is currently a global ambassador for fashion brand Burberry. In the photo of the advertising campaign
NewJeans has become the hottest new K-pop group since they debuted last July.
They’ve already had two No. 1 singles, with their recent hit Ditto charting internationally in the UK, Australia and the Billboard Hot 100, as well as becoming the most streamed song ever on Spotify in South Korea.
Danielle isn’t the only Australian member of the group, as Vietnamese-Australian Hanni hails from Melbourne.
NewJeans has set the K-pop world on fire and has become so popular that it even charted on the Billboard Hot 100.