PSY’s Anti-American Protest Past Surfaces; Performer Issues Apology

Truth rating: 10

By Daniel Gates


Could PSY’s past be coming back to haunt him?

The South Korean sensation, whose “Gangnam Style” has become the most-watched video in YouTube history, is under fire for expressing anti-American military sentiments about a decade ago.

On Friday, it was reported that back in 2002, PSY protested the presence of American troops in South Korea by smashing a miniature tank onstage during a concert.

More strikingly, in 2004, the artist (whose real name is Park Jae-sang) participated in protests following the death of a Korean missionary in Iraq.

Performing a Korean rock band’s song called “Dear American,” PSY rapped lyrics including, “Kill those f**king Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives / Kill those f**king Yankees who ordered them to torture. Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers / Kill them all slowly and painfully.”


As many observers have pointed out, the early 2000s was a period of widespread anti-American sentiment in South Korea, especially in terms of opposition to U.S. military action.

But the revelation that PSY, until now known primarily in America for a flamboyantly goofy dance, expressed such violent anti-American political views has made significant waves.

Late Friday, PSY made a statement and apologized:

“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.”

What do you think of PSY’s apology?

Do his previous protest actions change your opinion of his music?

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