The video arose on Thursday, and by Friday, Psy (nee Park Jae-Sang) was swiftly engaged in damage control.
MediaIte explained that, although the video arose on Thursday, there were actually two incidents involving Psy and anti-Iraq war protests:
During a 2002 protest concert against the presence of 37,000 American troops in Korea, Psy took the stage in gold face-paint and, with the crowd egging him on, lifted a miniature “American tank” and smashed it on the ground to massive applause. The performance was inspired by the death of two Korean school girls who were run over by an American tank in South Korea. The soldiers driving the tank were acquitted by a U.S. military court.
And then in 2004, a Korean missionary was captured in Iraq by Islamists who demanded that South Korea not send troops to aid America in the war in Iraq. Seoul refused to negotiate and the missionary was beheaded. The result: massive protests throughout Korea against both Muslim extremism and the U.S. military for indirectly bringing this fate upon a Korean missionary.
In the latter case, when Psy’s turn to sing came, he rapped:
Kill those f*cking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those f*cking Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully
These were obviously anti-war protests, and not Psy simply spilling hate on Americans. That being said, Psy offered an apology:
As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world.
The song I featured on in question from eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. 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. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words.
I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months — including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them — and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. 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.
The apology was quick to come, and we doubt the incident will dispel Psy love around the world, and even in the U.S.
However, the lyrics, once publicized, led to a petition on the “We the People” section of the White House’s website, demanding that Psy be dropped from an upcoming concert in front of U.S. President Barack Obama in two weeks. However, the petition was deleted later in the day, as the White House website claimed that it violated the terms of participation.
Other stars set to perform at the concert include Diana Ross and Demi Lovato.
The official video for Psy’s “Gangnam Style” recently dethroned Justin Bieber’s “Baby” as the top viewed YouTube video of all time.
This video (of his 2004 concert, embedded) might become popular too, but for a far different reason.