Nataphol Pavaravadhana, manager of Thai girl band sensation BNK48, has issued an apology amid controversy surrounding one of its members — Namsai (born Pichayapa Natha) — after she wore a shirt depicting a swastika during a live televised rehearsal on Friday.
After the broadcast, Thailand’s Israeli embassy issued a statement to Twitter expressing their “shock and dismay” upon seeing the “Nazi outfit.”
“Presenting Nazi symbols by the band’s singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis,” they wrote.
The incident occurred only two days before the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27).
Namsai, 19, quickly owned up to her fault and made a public apology onstage to a live audience. She recognized her own ignorance and stated that it was due to lack of knowledge. The singer broke into tears before vowing to educate herself on the matter.
Pavaravadhana accompanied Namsai to the Embassy of Israel in Bangkok to apologize to its ambassador Dr. Meir Shlomo, in person.
Diplomat of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Smadar Shapira, documented Namsai and Pavaravadhana’s visit to the embassy and revealed that the ambassador kindly accepted their apology.
Shlomo reportedly highlighted the importance of cultural awareness, especially regarding the history of anti-Semitism and the result of Adolf Hitler’s reign over Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Shlomo further requested that the members of BNK48 partake in an educational workshop with the embassy in the near future.
“I understand that it was an act arising from lack of knowledge and lack of awareness,” said Shlomo.
“I’m pleased that they have apologized and agreed to hold together an educational activity in the future,” he added.
Namsai further expanded on her apology in a public Instagram post. In a rough translation, she reached out to her English-speaking fans to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by her actions.
“I really want to apologize for this situation,” she wrote. “Everything that I did, it’s all my mistake.”
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สำหรับเหตุการณ์ที่เกิดขึ้น หนูรู้สึกเสียใจและรู้สึกผิดเป็นอย่างมาก ทุกสิ่งเกิดขึ้นมาจากความผิดพลาดของหนูเอง ขอน้อมรับความผิดพลาดทั้งหมดที่เกิดขึ้นค่ะ บนโลกใบนี้มีสิ่งต่างๆที่หนูจะต้องเรียนรู้อีกมากมาย โปรดให้คำชี้แนะและตักเตือน เพื่อให้หนูได้โตเป็นผู้ใหญ่ที่ดีในวันข้างหน้า หนูไม่อาจกลับไปแก้ไขความผิดพลาดนั้นได้ แต่หนูสัญญาว่าจะไม่เกิดเหตุการณ์แบบนี้อีก โปรดให้อภัยหนูด้วยนะคะ #BNK48 #NamsaiBNK48
“In this world have many thing that I should to know.” she wrote.
“Please, give me your good advice to make me be a better girl, and I promise I will not make it again.” she concluded.
Fortunately for Namsai, many of her dedicated fans and followers saw her remorse and willingly accepted her apology, citing that she simply was unaware of the historical context behind the emblem.
According to some of those fans, lack of awareness of the horrific events of the Holocaust is reportedly a common thing in some Asian countries.
Pavaravadhana and his management team issued a further statement on Facebook apologizing for “inadvertently dismay and distress to people affected” by their actions and the horrors of the mass-Jewish genocide during the Second World War.
BNK48 was formed in 2017 and since then, has taken Thailand among many other Asian countries by storm. The group currently has an astounding 51 individual members; as each year incorporates new “generations” of singers.
Management company Big Hit Entertainment apologized on behalf of the members of BTS.
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