"Gangnam Style" star is sorry for performing a song that urged the slow and painful deaths of U.S. leaders
Has America done its last horse dance?
PSY — the South Korean rapper behind the “Gangnam Style” sensation — was in damage control mode today, apologizing for two anti-American performances well before his 900 million YouTube views.
In 2002, the Washington Post reports, PSY performed at a protest aimed at the U.S. military presence in South Korea. He “lifted a large model of a U.S. tank and, to cheers and applause, smashed it against the stage.”
Then in 2004, at a concert also targeting the American military presence, he covered a song called “Dear American” by the South Korea metal band N.E.X.T.
The verse which raised controversy today was translated as:
Kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those fucking Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully
PSY is scheduled to perform on the “Christmas in Washington” special on Sunday with President Obama. Awkward!
That led to an apology late this afternoon:
As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I featured on in question from eight years ago – was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self, I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate, and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words.
I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months – including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them- and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it’s important that we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music, I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that through music, our universal language, we can all come together as a culture of humanity, and I hope that you will accept my apology.
TNT, meanwhile, has said PSY is still scheduled to be on the “Christmas in Washington” broadcast. The White House said earlier on Friday that the president, as is traditional, plans to attend.
The Post does an excellent job of placing the protests and PSY’s involvement in political context:
In May of (2004), an extremist group led by al-Qaeda’s Abu Musab al-Zarqawi captured a South Korean Christian missionary in Iraq. They demanded that Seoul cancel its plan to send 3,000 troops in support of the U.S.-led invasion and, when South Korea refused, sent a tape of his beheading to Al Jazeera. “Korean citizens, you were warned,” the executioner announced. “Your soldiers are here not for the sake of Iraqis, but for cursed America.”
Koreans again took the streets in protest, first against the terrorists in Iraq, but then against the governments they saw as responsible for putting Koreans in harm’s way. “While most of the peninsula’s fury was directed toward terrorists in Iraq as well as Korean government policy, some anti-U.S. military protesters seized the moment to put forth their cause,” Korea-based journalist Bobby McGill explains. “Once again, PSY was involved. This time he admonished not only the terrorists and then president Roh Mu-hyun, but he also allegedly unleashed a vitriolic condemnation of American military personnel and military brass.”
David Daley is the executive editor of Salon. More David Daley.
More Related Stories
- Cannes: Directing 101 with James Franco
- Welcome to the jungle: The definitive oral history of '80s metal
- Burt Bacharach opens up on daughter's suicide
- Steven Spielberg to produce "Halo" television series
- Amazon set to launch fine-art gallery
- Twitter torches Dan Brown's "Inferno"
- Brad Pitt keeps breaking his silence on how boring marriage to Jennifer Aniston was
- Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" to use porn star body doubles
- New Beyoncé single leaked
- The sweet, sure to be short-lived "The Goodwin Games"
- Damon Lindelof admits barely-clothed scene in "Star Trek" was "gratuitous"
- Justin Timberlake: I'm a mediocre folk singer!
- Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors, dies at 74
- Beware of book blurbs
- Did a Salon excerpt ruin Penn Jillette's chance to win "Celebrity Apprentice"?
- Zach Galifianakis to take formerly homeless woman to "Hangover 3" premiere
- Seth MacFarlane will not host Oscars again
- "SNL's" uncomfortable Garner/Affleck moment
- "Celebrity Apprentice" finale ratings hit a new low
- Worst National Anthem fails
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11