ZEROBASEONE’s Kim Gyu Vin issued an apology today for using some controversial terms while responding to fan comments. Earlier this week, netizens called out his use of the words, which are associated with members of a far-right online group.
The specific terms are slang expressions that could be interpreted as derogatory towards women. For most South Koreans, they are associated with members of the notorious Ilbe Storehouse community. The group is also known as Daily Best Archive.
Screenshots showing Gyu Vin using the terms when replying to fans quickly went viral online. Many were alarmed that the ZEROBASEONE singer appeared to be using them so freely.
Some of the derogatory phrases he typed included “ㅗㅜㅑ” (Oh-woo-yah) which is seen as sexualizing women, “없당께” (eop-dang-kkae) which mocks Jeolla dialect speakers, and “아몰랑” (ah-mol-llang), a term used to refer to emotional females.
Why is this an issue?
The Ilbe Storehouse is a South Korean Internet forum that has a predominantly far-right userbase. While starting out as a daily archive website, Ilbe quickly became a popular forum for right-wing discussions. Its users are known for their anti-feminism, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBT views. The site has also been accused of spreading misinformation and hate speech.
Site users have been the center of several major controversies over the years. These include organizing anti-feminist and pro-nationalist protests, and engaging in online harassment attacks. In 2017, an Ilbe user was sued by JYP Entertainment for sending death threats to TWICE’s Mina.
Due to the group’s largely negative image, netizens were concerned over the implication that Gyu Vin had any association with them.
Gyu Vin’s apology
In his apology, Gyu Vin said that he was unaware of the exact meaning and origin of the terms he had used. He wrote: “I sincerely apologize to the many people who must have felt uncomfortable because of my inexpert ways. I will learn more and make an effort to prevent this kind of situation from arising again in the future.
“Once again, I apologize to the fans who support me and everyone I’ve troubled through this incident.”
We hope that Gyu Vin does learn from this experience, and that he is more careful when communicating with fans in the future.