Caricature depicting BTS with bruised faces criticized amid rise in anti-Asian violence, brand apologizes
Trading card brand Topps apologized for and removed a satirical illustration of Korean boy band BTS following social media backlash.
On Tuesday, Topps announced its Grammy-themed sticker collection called “The Shammy Awards,” which featured satirical illustrations poking fun at performers including Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift.
However, social media users criticized Topps for its portrayal of BTS. The caricature showed the K-pop ground with bruised faces in a game of Whack-A-Mole, which were meant to symbolize their Grammys snub.
In response to the backlash, Topps issued an apology the following day and announced that the BTS sticker has been removed.
“We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK Shammy Awards product and we apologize for including it,” Topps tweeted Wednesday.
“We have removed the BTS sticker card from the set, we have not printed any of the sticker card and it will not be available.”
USA TODAY reached out to BTS and Topps company for comment.
Some deemed the cards as racist amid the rise in anti-Asian violence across the country.
‘It still feels surreal’: BTS makes Grammys history, whether they win on Sunday or not
The caricature version for the other artists seems cute and child-like, while the one for BTS depicts them as beaten, bruised with the look of fear on their face. @Topps you’re supporting the hate against Asians, this is not even qualified as a garbage humor, this is hateful. pic.twitter.com/foOvLnhoA9
The most recent attack happened Tuesday night, in which eight people, most of them women of Asian descent, were killed in three shootings at Atlanta-area massage parlors. At least four of the victims of the Atlanta-area massage parlor shootings were women of Korean descent, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said it was too soon in the investigation to say whether the shootings were a hate crime. “We are just not there as of yet,” Bryant said during a Wednesday morning news conference.
“The way BTS was depicted in the @Topps card is very similar to racist political cartoons…. which were used to dehumanize POC and sway (white) public opinion,” user @evac100 wrote.
tw // racism, violence
The way BTS was depicted in the @Topps card is very similar to racist political cartoons…. which were used to dehumanize POC and sway (white) public opinion. This is also why Topps should apologize to BTS and the Asian community. pic.twitter.com/k7I5xsinni
What the hell is this? Why would you DO this? I really hope y’all get sued. pic.twitter.com/LclhQ008IH
‘Silence is complicity’: Daniel Dae Kim calls to #StopAsianHate after Atlanta-area shootings
After the Atlanta-area shootings, celebrities spoke out about the latest tragedy in Asian communities.
Actor Daniel Dae Kim said: “The race of the person committing the crime matters less than the simple fact that if you act with hate in your heart, you are part of the problem. And to those with the power to help and yet sit idly by, your silence is complicity. #StopAsianHate.”
Other stars took to social media to spread awareness about the event, with “To All the Boys I Loved Before” actress Lana Condor urging her followers to “wake up” and encouraging people to be allies to the Asian community.
“Your Asian friends and family are deeply scared, horrified, sick to their stomachs and wildly angry. Please please please check in on us, please please please stand with us. Please. Your Asian friend needs you, even if they aren’t publicly grieving on social media.”
Contributing: Jordan Culver, Ryan Miller, Gary Estwick
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