K-pop group BLACKPINK is accused of poorly handling a baby panda in a postponed episode for their new reality show “24/365 With Blackpink.”
Chinese social media users called the group out after the trailer for the episode was released on Nov. 4, according to The Straits Times.
The episode features BLACKPINK members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa visiting Fu Bao, the first panda born in South Korea, in its sanctuary at Everland Amusement and Animal Park in Yongin.
In the clip, Jennie and Rosé were asked to check the mother panda’s health as per the zookeeper’s instructions while the other two members, Lisa and Jisoo, prepare food. They were all wearing masks, gloves and other protective gear while interacting with Fu Bao.
However, Chinese social media users pointed out the group members were wearing a lot of makeup, which could cause complications for the health of the baby panda. Some also added that zookeepers were the only people allowed to hold the baby panda in China.
Other comments said all four members were not wearing proper protective gear such as face masks while preparing the food, and gloves when touching the mother panda’s palm.
Fans, known as “Blinks,” were quick to rally behind BLACKPINK, saying the rules are different in China and South Korea. They also emphasized how the group followed the zookeepers’ instructions throughout their visit.
The episode, which was scheduled for release online over the weekend, was postponed as a result of the backlash. Blackpink also took down the original trailer from their YouTube channel, but the full preview can be viewed below:
“When Blackpink met the baby panda, all members wore hygiene gloves, masks and protective clothing … hands and shoes were disinfected at every transition,” YG Entertainment said in its statement, according to The Guardian. “Nevertheless, in respect of international cooperation practices and recommendations from panda experts who say that nonprofessionals having close contact with the baby panda can cause misunderstandings, we decided to withhold the release of the related video.”
China’s Wildlife Conservation Association also claimed in a statement that Everland “violated the professional requirements for the protection of giant pandas” by letting Blackpink have contact with the panda cub.
“On November 5, the China Wildlife Conservation Association sent a formal letter to South Korea’s Everland Zoo after the zoo violated the professional requirements for the protection of giant pandas as it organized performance-related personnel to have close contact with giant panda cubs and producing entertainment programs,” the association said, according to CNN.
“Here we ask the zoo to stop playing and disseminating related content videos. [We suggest to the zoo that] it is necessary to further strengthen management, scientific management and protection, and resolutely prevent such incidents from happening again,” it added.
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