PSY apologizes for anti-American protests and 'Yankees' song past
In 2004, rapper/singer sang songs about killing U.S. troops' families
South Korean rapper and Internet sensation PSY is apologizing to Americans for participating in anti-U.S. protests several years ago.
Park Jae-sang, who performs as PSY, issued a statement Friday after reports surfaced that he had participated in concerts protesting the U.S. military presence in South Korea during the early stages of the Iraq war.
At a 2004 concert, the "Gangnam Style" rapper performs a song with lyrics about killing "Yankees" who have been torturing Iraqi captives and their families "slowly and painfully." In another protest, he smashed a model of a U.S. tank on stage.
"While I'm grateful for the freedom to express one's self, I've learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I'm deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted," he wrote in the statement. "I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words."
The 34-year-old rapper says the protests were part of a "deeply emotional" reaction to the war and the death of two Korean school girls, who were killed when a U.S. military vehicle hit them as they walked alongside the road. He noted antiwar sentiment was high around the world at the time.
PSY attended college in the U.S. and says he understands the sacrifices U.S. military members have made to protect South Korea and other nations. He has recently performed in front of servicemen and women.
"And I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology," he wrote. "While it's important that we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music, I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that thru music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology."
His participation in the protests was no secret in South Korea, where the U.S. has had a large military presence since the Korean War, but was not generally known in America until recent news reports.
PSY did not write "Dear American," a song by The N.E.X.T., but he does perform it. The song exhorts the listener to kill the Yankees who are torturing Iraqi captives, their superiors who ordered the torture and their families. At one point he raps: "Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers/Kill them all slowly and painfully."
PSY launched to international acclaim based on the viral nature of his "Gangnam Style" video. It became YouTube's most watched video, making him a millionaire who freely crossed cultural boundaries around the world. Much of that success has happened in the U.S., where the rapper has managed to weave himself into pop culture.
He recently appeared on the American Music Awards, dancing alongside MC Hammer in a melding of memorable dance moves that book-end the last two decades. And the Internet is awash with copycat versions of the song. Even former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, the 81-year-old co-chairman of President Barack Obama's deficit commission, got in on the fun, recently using the song in a video to urge young Americans to avoid credit card debt.
It remains to be seen how PSY's American fans will react. Obama, the father of two pop music fans, wasn't letting the news change his plans, though.
Earlier Friday, the White House confirmed Obama and his family will attend a Dec. 21 charity concert where PSY is among the performers. A spokesman says it's customary for the president to attend the "Christmas in Washington" concert, which will be broadcast on TNT. The White House has no role in choosing performers for the event, which benefits the National Children's Medical Center.
Copyright (2012) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
News From Our Partners
- Daft Punk, 'Random Access Memories' – Album Review Adam Levine Inviting Shakira Over for Sweaty Bikram Yoga Sessions, Sparks Rumors Chris Brown, Demi Lovato + More React to Oklahoma Tornado Tragedy
- 'Star Trek Into Darkness': How J.J. Abrams Kept the Identity of Benedict Cumberbatch's Villain a Secret Zach Galifianakis's 'Hangover III' Date: A Formerly Homeless Pal 'The Wolverine' New Trailer: More Ninjas, More Action and Jean Grey?
- Ranking the Blockbusters with Summer Movie Scorecard 2013 RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Last Stand and Side Effects Box Office Guru Wrapup: Star Trek Softer Than Expected at #1
- Meet The New 'X Factor' Judges 5 Women We're Excited to See On TV This Fall How 'Vikings' Leading Man Travis Fimmel Nearly Got Away...
- What to Watch Tonight: SYTYCD, Awkward., and the Finales of Grimm, The Game, and DWTS The Big C Series Finale Review: And They Lived Happily Ever After Warehouse 13 "The Sky's the Limit" Review: Up Up and Away
- Microsoft Announces Foza Motorsport 5 as an Xbox One Launch Title '24: Live Another Day': Will Mary Lynn Rajskub's Chloe Return? Xbox One's Xbox Live Services Will Get a Boost
- Cannes Film Festival: Cannes 2013, Day Six: Michael Douglas plays Liberace in Steven Soderbergh’s swan song, Behind The Candelabra Comics Panel: New releases include an alternative detective story and a new collection examining the collective urban subconscious Permanent Records: The Breeders’ Last Splash is a rallying cry for the weirdos and stereotype-flouters
- Seth MacFarlane's Next Film: 'Every Line Is Hilarious,' Amanda Seyfried Swears 'The Wolverine' Trailer: Five Questions It Answered 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Takes Box-Office Crown With $84 Million