K-pop group's use of Nazi symbol in photoshoot sparks backlash

One of the members of K-pop group PURPLE KISS sported a Pateiadler, a Nazi symbol of an eagle clutching a swastika, on her clothes during the 2022 Season's Greeting package.

A Nazi armband with a swastika displayed in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A Nazi armband with a swastika displayed in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

K-pop group PURPLE KISS sparked controversy when a picture circulated online of one of the members of the all-female group wearing a Nazi symbol.

The image in question was shared by the group's label, RBW, as part of their 2022 Season's Greeting package. 

The member in question, Goeun, was seen dressed in what was meant to resemble stereotypical fighter pilot attire. She wore a green top with US Air Force written above the shirt pocket. Underneath, however, was the Pateiadler, a stylized wing-spread eagle with the head facing left and a swastika clutched in its talons.

This sparked backlash on social media against PURPLE KISS and RBW for their perceived insensitivity.

Following this controversy, the pictures were taken down and edited to include a generic eagle in place of the Pateiadler.

"We sincerely apologize for raising concerns by not doing a thorough inspection of all the outfits and accessories worn by the artist during the 2022 Season’s Greetings photoshoot beforehand," RBW said in a statement on the group's official fan cafe website.

"The responsibility of this issue rests entirely on us, the artist’s agency, as we have failed to review the outfit in detail. We are deeply reflecting on not having been more careful about sensitive historical issues. Considering the situation at the photoshoot, we’d like to clearly state that the responsibility of this incident is not on the artist."

They added that "we will make sure all the members of our staff pay close attention to historical issues in the future" and expressed "our deepest apologies for the trouble that we have caused with this issue."

The controversy surrounding PURPLE KISS, a new K-pop group that debuted just last year, comes following similar controversies in Asia regarding the use of Nazi imagery.

In October, a Nazi-themed host club in the Japanese city of Osaka sparked outrage, leading to it shutting down and issuing an apology for the lack of "awareness" among the staff.

Dubbed Unfair, the host club — a type of cabaret-esque nightclub in Japan where attractive men serve drinks, sing and engage in conversations with customers — had advertised itself on several host sites with the club's hosts dressed in full Nazi cosplay. 

Users on social media platforms shared videos and pictures of the club, featuring not only hosts dressed as Nazis, but promotional materials covered in Swastikas — even bottles of alcohol displayed swastikas on them.