It is not S.M. Entertainment’s year.
First, there were the repeated dating scandals. Then, Kris of EXO filed a lawsuit against the company in an attempt to end his contract. Now, a group has debuted and, within a week, has already generated controversy with its music video.
S.M. Entertainment revealed the debut video for its new four-member girl group, Red Velvet, on Aug. 1. Within hours, viewers were discussing various images included in the video for the single “Happiness.”
Collages of newspapers referencing the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which included a racial slur) appeared behind member Irene. In another scene, member Seulgi is seen playing with a toy airplane, while underneath her arm appears a collage of Sept. 11 imagery.
S.M. Entertainment denied knowing about the offensive imagery beforehand.
“After questioning the director, we found that he simply used a collage source for the images, and there was no intention behind it,” the company said in an official statement. “As S.M. wasn’t able to catch it before, we will remove the material that caused a misunderstanding as soon as possible.’
‘We will make sure not to let this kind of thing happen in the future,” the statement said.
In the days following the release of the “Happiness” video, netizens threw around ideas about the real reason behind the video’s release. Many said the offending imagery was included on purpose to draw attention to the group (and pull attention away from f(x)’s recent failed promotions).
A new version of the music video was released on Sunday, with the offending imagery edited out.
The group is also already embroiled in a second controversy: it is facing plagiarism allegations over the use of its logo, which resembles that of Italian luggage maker, Roncato.