Trading card company Topps has removed its battered portrayal of BTS from its 2021 Grammys-themed Garbage Pail Kids sticker collection as anti-Asian hate crimes continue spiking.
Following the 63rd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday (March 14), Topps unveiled their “Shammy Awards” sticker card collection on Tuesday with satirical depictions of the night’s biggest performers, including Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and BTS.
However, the “Bopping K-pop” card featured the global superstars as bruised and bandaged caricatures in a game of Whac-A-Mole. The depiction prompted the #RacismIsNotComedy tag on Twitter. The card also debuted on the same day shootings at three Georgia spas and massage parlors resulted in the murder of eight people, six of whom were Asian women. The FBI has joined the investigation into the shootings.
Topps issued an apology Wednesday (March 17) and announced the removal of the card, which was never printed and will not be printed moving forward. “We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK Shammy Awards product and we apologize for including it,” the company wrote on its socials. “We have removed the BTS sticker card from the set, we have not printed any of the sticker card and it will not be available.”
However, the ARMY and members of the Asian community took issue with the apology for Topps’ failure to direct its statement to BTS and the Asian community at large, but also to understand the deeply rooted issue of anti-Asian hate crimes that have been increasing drastically over the last year.
your "apology" should be directed at bts and the entire asian community for capitalizing on asian ridicule and depicting violence against asians especially in a time where asian hate crimes are steadily rising. i beg you understand Why that was an issue in the first place. https://t.co/khlwFZJXQW
— ree 🍃 ⁷ (@mintynkks) March 17, 2021
Why was it upsetting? Clarify that to the public, then make a proper apology to the Asian community.
You depicted an Asian public figures as badly bruised and beaten down fully knowing the growing hate against Asian is happening in your country.
You are enabling hate. https://t.co/jzSywlOChJ
— Dita ⁷ 🐙💜🐳 (@almostdita) March 17, 2021
"I'm sorry you got upset" is not an apology @Topps. Take real responsibility. Acknowledge the insensitivity & implicit racism in your portrayal of BTS. The lack of accountability & deflection of blame only invalidate the feelings of those hurt & contribute to hate against Asians.
— BTS Press⁷ (@BTSPressData) March 17, 2021
Stop AAPI Hate, an organization formed during the COVID-19 pandemic to combat anti-Asian and Pacific Islander discrimination, has logged almost 3,800 reports of hate incidents targeting Asian Americans across the country since March 2020. Former president Donald Trump was criticized for contributing to an environment of hostility toward people of Asian descent during his presidency by using phrases such as “Kung Flu” and referring to the global pandemic COVID-19 as the “China Virus.”