An Australian K-pop star has fueled anti-Chinese sentiment in South Korea after innocently botching a New Year’s greeting.
Danielle Marsh, who is a member of girl group NewJeans, sparked widespread backlash in Korea after referring to the Lunar New Year as “Chinese New Year”.
The Newcastle-born teenager, 17, made the mistake of messaging fans on the group’s subscription-based app Phoneing.
Australian K-pop star Danielle Marsh (pictured) of girl group NewJeans has fueled anti-Chinese sentiment in South Korea after she innocently botched a New Year’s greeting
“What are bunnies doing for Chinese New Year?” she wrote before quickly deleting it upon realizing her mistake.
It is common for westerners to refer to Chinese New Year as “Chinese New Year”, but in Korea it is considered very offensive and seen as a pro-Chinese and anti-Korean statement.
Korean netizens have blasted the Australian star in the comments section of major news sites and forums, according to Netizenbuzz translations.
“So she’s Australian, which means she didn’t understand the English she wrote in…” one wrote.
“I wish these agencies would train these idols in more than just singing and dancing and give them a basic understanding. 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 shame [NewJeans’] Member didn’t know better than to call it Chinese New Year when she debuted to make her money in our country,” wrote another.
“I still can’t forgive them the Chinese New Year thing… I don’t want to see them again,” raged another.
“Please either limit the groups to only Korean members or provide appropriate history education,” wrote another. “I liked this group for their good vibes, but I’m totally over them for that. I will stick to supporting groups with only Korean members.”
“I’ll bet you she has Chinese blood somewhere in her family line,” said one fan.
Korean netizens have blasted the Australian star in the comments section of major news sites and forums, according to Netizenbuzz translations
Danielle has since apologized 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,” she 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 deeply regret it.
“I also want to say to the Bunnies that I’m really sorry [NewJeans fans] 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 in my words and actions in the future. Again, my apologies,” she concluded.
“Please either limit the groups to Korean members only or give them all proper history education,” raged one Korean pop fan
While Koreans were reluctant to forgive, international K-pop fans were far more understanding.
“We call it Chinese New Year in my country too! Please don’t apologize! Happy Chinese New Year everyone!’ wrote a fan.
“In Australia we call it Chinese New Year, no need to apologize baby,” added another.
The Newcastle-born star has become one of the biggest names in K-pop in the past year and is a global ambassador for fashion brand Burberry (pictured in the ad campaign).
NewJeans have become the hottest new group in K-pop since their debut last July.
They have already had two #1 singles, with their most recent hit Ditto charting internationally in the UK, Australia and the Billboard Hot 100, as well as becoming the most-streamed song in history on Spotify in South Korea.
Danielle isn’t the only Australian member of the group, Vietnamese-Australian member Hanni hails from Melbourne.
NewJeans have set the K-Pop world on fire and are so popular that they even made the Billboard Hot 100