K-pop artist Crush has denied online allegations that he discriminated against fans with darker skin during a recent performance.
Viral footage of the R&B singer performing at the 2022 Someday Plemora Festival on Oct. 9 shows him high-fiving audience members but allegedly skipping Black fans.
Among those who were skipped were two Black roommates who shared videos and their first-hand accounts of what happened.
One of the roommates said on Twitter that she and her roommate were declined handshakes while the singer went on to shake the hands of those around them. Being longtime fans, the user said they were hurt and now want others to know what he purportedly did to them.
“For this to happen to us first-hand really broke my heart,” the roommate tweeted. “I’ve never experienced blatant discrimination like this in my entire life. Especially since he was my favorite artist, it hurts so bad.”
Hours after the tweets gained traction, Crush posted an explanation in both Korean and English on Instagram, claiming it was a misunderstanding.
“Hi everyone, I just wanted to address the issue revolving around the audience interaction from my performance last night at the 2022 SOMEDAY PLEROMA festival,” the post read.
“I’ve been away for roughly two years and being able to perform on stage with my dearest fans in the audience was such an unforgettable and long-awaited experience, so I naturally and instinctively walked towards and reached down to the crowd.”
“To avoid further misunderstanding, I would like to explain that I had to refrain from giving out high-fives with the fans in particular sections as a safety precaution – fans were getting too close to the fences holding up the audience section and I saw that those in the front row were getting pushed against the fence, so I made a quick judgment not to approach for the safety of my fans.”
“I sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding that my actions may have caused. I love each and every one of my fans and I would never discriminate nor favor anyone.”
Some commenters on his post, however, were unconvinced.
“This makes no sense then how did you shake the hands of people directly next to them and around them?” wrote a commenter. “We got you on tape.”
On Twitter, some fans tried to point out that he made the same gesture at a few other points during the performance:
“He did it several times for SAFETY,” one user wrote in a post paired with a video. “Plz watch this video. It’s your misunderstanding.”
However, other users went on to highlight that those he avoided touching at those times were also Black fans:
“Except they were black the other time too,” another user responded with an image of the crowd. “USE YOUR EYES.”
There were also netizens who brought up the time he wore a blackface mask on “King of Mask Singer,” the Korean version of “The Masked Singer.”
“On masked singer in korea of 2016 crush wore a mask that was supposed to be like a black face which technically is blackface,” wrote one Twitter user. “I’m very disgusted but not shocked.”