NCT DREAM‘s Jisung has recently come under fire for allegedly making “colorist” remarks about his fellow member, Haechan.
Fans were disappointed when the behind-the-scenes vlog of the group’s trip to Germany was uploaded, and Jisung was seen making a comment about Haechan’s skin. Many fans found the comment to be unnecessary and offensive, as it had a negative implication about Haechan’s darker skin tone.
Jisung and Chenle filmed themselves walking around the city of Frankfurt, where they had gone to perform at the mega K-Pop concert, KPop.Flex. They stopped at a restaurant to have lunch and the subject of skin color came up when Chenle mentioned that what they had ordered “makes you paler.”
He said he’d been eating it since childhood, which is why he is so pale. Jisung then joked, “I should buy eight of these.”
Some moments after that, Jisung joked again, this time saying, ‘”Do you think Haechan will become pale if he eats this?” Chenle answered “No.”
Jisung’s comment took many fans by surprise with many calling it out as thoughtlessness.
Excuse me…? pic.twitter.com/0Tes0dlIdC
— ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ (@HCbodyguard) June 8, 2022
It has received a lot of mixed reactions among NCTzens who feel that the “colorist” remark was not only totally uncalled for…
haechan miles away from them minding his own business doing a DOME tour in japan and yet they still talk about his skin color https://t.co/eNG2EAP7RL
— Dan (@surfsup2007) June 8, 2022
…but that it was also more than one too many from Jisung, who has reportedly made similar remarks about Haechan in the past, including making derogative comments about Haechan’s weight.
tw / colorism, fat shaming.
will u ever learn jisung? few months ago you were fatshaming him now you’re being a colorist. you were called out and educated by some through sending a bubble but here u are again with another remark. you should know when to stop and draw the line. https://t.co/3QMNcYtcb3
— annika 🪁 (@jenowinkle) June 8, 2022
even if this was for a game, mark didn’t think twice before stepping in and silencing jisung pic.twitter.com/5tJaQosXOz
— ْ (@dreamleeline) June 8, 2022
Many netizens have pointed out that since Jisung is an adult now, it is past the point that he starts taking responsibility for his actions — particularly since this isn’t the first such comment he’s made.
jisung, a grown ass man with enough sense making a joke about haechan's skin tone YET AGAIN and y'all are still defending him? he isn't 9 i'm sorry to break it to you so PLEASE stop babying him and hold him accountable for his words
— a$h (@yyangflwrs) June 8, 2022
no one has the right to speak on another person’s body/skin color, especially when said person isn’t around. don’t baby jisung, or just brush it off because they’re friends. he’s grown enough to take accountability and it was ignorant of him to do.
— ✩ (@205feed) June 8, 2022
— ray ✘ 휴강 lover (@ningtyunie) June 8, 2022
Yet many also feel that it’s important that this isn’t used as an excuse to send hate his way, as it ultimately won’t fix the real problem.
jisung’s an adult and is more than capable of acknowledging his own wrongdoings. he can educate himself without the help of fans. but if you’re only using this situation to threaten and wish terrible things upon him, you genuinely do not care about the actual problem at hand.
— ✩ (@205feed) June 8, 2022
This is especially because, as netizens have also pointed out, Jisung is not alone in this. The footage that the members filmed had to have been approved before undergoing the editing process, and yet the comment was still included in the final upload.
This means that not only was Jisung unaware of the negative implications of his words but so was seemingly everyone else who worked on the video. Otherwise, the comment would have likely been cut.
Jisung’s controversy speaks to the larger issue of colorism in Korea. Earlier this year, BoA and aespa‘s Karina were similarly under fire for allegedly making a ‘colorist’ comment about Girls’ Generation‘s Hyoyeon. Netflix Korea also had to officially address the “colorism controversy” that arose from its hit reality show, Single’s Inferno, after some of the male contestants praised female contestant Shin Ji Yeon‘s white skin.
As such, netizens feel that it’s important that Korean entertainment companies start being more actively mindful of issues such as these. If K-Pop idols (and other entertainers) were formally educated about colorism, racism, misogyny, and cultural appropriation, then controversies such as Jisung’s, Netflix Korea’s, and many others would be easily avoided.
We need kpop companies to hold a forum/seminar and educate their idols about colorism, racism, and cultural appropriation. They cant keep profiting off the global community while pretending like they only cater to a certain demographic.
— ronnie | rj protection squad (@rnjnchin) June 8, 2022
Not only that, but it would help idols and Korean entertainers to connect more closely and much more respectfully with their global audience.
For the full clip from NCT DREAM’s Germany vlog, check out the link below.