Blackpink is setting the record straight after videos of the group handling a giant panda cub in a South Korean zoo circulated online, sparking backlash from Chinese fans.
In the clip, which has since been removed from YouTube, the band members are seen holding Fu Bao, the first panda born in South Korea. The clip was set to be included in the Nov. 17 episode of the group’s 24/365 with BLACKPINK reality series.
China has sent giant pandas abroad as a sign of friendship for many years as part of a campaign called “panda diplomacy.” There are only about 1,800 giant pandas left, which has launched efforts to preserve the species.
“On November 5, the China Wildlife Conservation Association sent a formal letter to South Korea’s Everland Zoo after the zoo violated the professional requirements for the protection of giant pandas as it organized performance-related personnel to have close contact with giant panda cubs and producing entertainment programs,” the China Wildlife Conservation Association association said in a statement obtained by CNN. “Here we ask the zoo to stop playing and disseminating related content videos. [We suggest to the zoo that] it is necessary to further strengthen management, scientific management and protection, and resolutely prevent such incidents from happening again.”
On Wednesday (Nov. 11), Blackpink responded to the criticism on Twitter, revealing that they will be postponing the 24/365 with BLACKPINK episode, as the scene with the baby panda has caused a “misunderstanding.”
The statement, written in Korean, notes that the panda experience at the Everland Zoo was “conducted with the participation of professional veterinarians and breeders, while following strict quarantine management and hygiene rules.”
They went on to note that all members of Blackpink “wore sanitary gloves, masks and protective clothing,” and “hands and shoes were disinfected.”
“We thank the people who have been concerned, and ask for your support for Blackpink and the pandas who participated in this filming.”
See the full statement below.
— BLACKPINK GLOBAL BLINK (@ygofficialblink) November 7, 2020