Topps, an American trading card manufacturing company, has apologized for a newly released product that depicts a Grammy Awards trophy ready to injure the members of K-pop group BTS.
The sticker, called “Bopping K-pop,” features a caricature of bruised BTS members in a game of Whac-A-Mole.
.@Topps Can you explain why you chose to illustrate BTS in this way? The other artists you’ve included have no depiction of violence in their illustrations. Why did this get green-lit? https://t.co/BAVYlvOpKO pic.twitter.com/I4tukzTofg
— José/JK Mixtape⁷ (@TheJose8A) March 17, 2021
K-pop fans and members of the Asian community called the company out for incorporating violence on the sticker, especially given that hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans rise.
Social media users argue that the BTS sticker is racist, according to The Free Press Journal.
You’re depiction of the ONLY nominated Koreans in a wac-a-mole (a hate term used often when referring to sending immigrants back where they came from) during a time where ASAIN HATE CRIME is on the rise? it’s so racist I can’t even believe it got made.. it’s 2021 FOR CHRIST SAKE https://t.co/nGQNtgoFUx
— ᴮᴱkp⁷ (@bulletproofkp) March 17, 2021
Read the room and what’s been happening in the world this past year, @Topps. Depicting violence only against an Asian artist is fueling rising anti-Asian sentiments which directly impacted tonight’s tragedies in Atlanta. We know you do parody, but this is not a joke. https://t.co/Yj6W6jUkPo
— Jeff Benjamin (@Jeff__Benjamin) March 17, 2021
In light of recent heartbreaking events of hate crimes towards Asians, @Topps released a drawing of 875 bruised & battered. Not only is this insensitive but further fueling hate & violence towards the Asian community. This cannot be tolerated. Email template⬇️#RacismIsNotComedy pic.twitter.com/AiYI9u6BAY
— ㄱ노미팬달콤뀨(slow) (@lovemazejikook) March 17, 2021
This is such a disgraced action toward Asians in general and BTS in particular. While several people promote a harmonious life, this company depicted BTS – Asian artists with bruises, hit by the Grammy award. Shameful you https://t.co/aMdxGYvZYo
— Trà My (@meo_muoi) March 17, 2021
Your depiction of an asian artist was with a wac a mole, being beaten by it a time where anti asian hate has been growing tremendously. And why are they the only one shown like that? Is that the xenophobia and racism clouding your fucking minds?#StopAsianHate#AsiansAreHuman https://t.co/IRNQx1Gnf9
— 이서연⁷ // busy reviewing for CETs (@Seoyeonnaaahh) March 17, 2021
Topps apologized in a statement on Wednesday, adding that they will no longer make the BTS sticker available for purchase.
— Topps (@Topps) March 17, 2021
“We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK Shammy Awards product and we apologize for including it,” the company wrote. “We have removed the BTS sticker card from the set, we have not printed any of the sticker card and it will not be available.”
However, countless fans were unsatisfied with the apology, claiming that Topps failed to address the real underlying problem.
You missed to acknowledge the part why people are upset?????? This is not an apology. Apologies properly to BTS and Asian Community.
— j-hope daily™ (@jhopestudio) March 17, 2021
Why was it upsetting? Clarify that to the public, then make a proper apology to the Asian community.
You depicted an Asian public figures as badly bruised and beaten down fully knowing the growing hate against Asian is happening in your country.
You are enabling hate. https://t.co/jzSywlOChJ
— Dita ᴮᴱ⁷ (@almostdita) March 17, 2021
“I’m sorry you got upset” is not an apology @Topps. Take real responsibility. Acknowledge the insensitivity & implicit racism in your portrayal of BTS. The lack of accountability & deflection of blame only invalidate the feelings of those hurt & contribute to hate against Asians.
— ᴮᴱ BTS Press⁷ (@BTSPressData) March 17, 2021
On Tuesday, Stop AAPI Hate revealed that it had received 3,795 reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in California between March 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021.
Feature Image via Topps (left), Entertainment Tonight (right)