Psy Apologises for Anti-American Song, Korean Netizens React

Psy holds up a model of an American tank before smashing it on stage in a 2002 concert, photo from Sports Chosun

South Korean media, sensitive to the missteps of celebrities, are closely following the reaction in America to the news that Psy sang strongly anti-American lyrics during some his performances in 2004, dividing netizen opinion.

A majority of the online reaction is impressed with the evenhanded response in America to the story, and were willing to give Psy the benefit of the doubt. But comments about the lyrics themselves are evenly split between those who regretted the call to kill American soldiers and their families, and those who were instead focused on defending underlying anti-American sentiment at the time.

Among those who defended the lyrics, some were critical of Psy for appearing to be an opportunist, joining the protests in 2004 when it was popular, but recanting now that he has become famous in America.

From OSEN:

The American Response to Psy’s Public Statement? “Are you responsible for something you did in 2004?”

A wide variety of responses are pouring forth in reaction to the singer Psy’s apology for the violent language in his song “Dear America”, which has become known as anti-American song.

On December 8th, Psy’s apology appeared on NBC, ABC, and a host of internet sites. Among the reports, an article on CNN’s IReport quickly attracted fierce discussion, as more than one thousand comments argued for or against the singer’s actions.

The IReport article presented Psy’s official statement, as well as the historical background for the song. It mentioned that, at the time, the deaths of the two school girls, Hyo-sun and Mi-seon, after collision with a US military vehicle had led to an atmosphere of anti-Americanism.

It was recently announced that Psy would perform at a Christmas concert in Washington, D.C. where President Obama would be in attendance. The article mentioned that the White House recently deleted a petition uploaded on its website that asked for Psy to be excluded from the event because of his 2004 remarks.

The article went on to introduce the divided opinion among Americans about Psy’s actions. Negative remarks included, “If you say that we should kill American soldiers, then get out of America,” and “what he said about women was too much to excuse.” Positive remarks included, “As an American, I like Psy even more. He said what needed to be said when America was committing terrible crimes,” and “he didn’t criticize America, he criticized American soldiers. Before you insult someone else you should understand the context.”

The article ends by saying, “should Psy take responsibility for something he did in 2004?… We will be looking further into this issue.”

In a previous statement, Psy announced that, “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.” He added, “The song I was featured in 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.”

He went on to say, “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.”

He emphasized, “I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers 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.”

The 2004 song containing the controversial lyrics. The lines calling for the deaths of American soldiers start at the 2:45 mark

American media reports about how Psy participated in anti-American protests and sang songs at his concerts that told people to kill American soldiers have been gaining attention in the country.

The controversial song “Dear America” came out in 2004 and was written by the band N.EX.T. Psy features in the song and performed it at anti-American protests. The lyrics contain the line “The b—–ds who tortured Iraqi prisoners and the b—–ds who forced others to torture, their daughters, their mothers, their daughters-in-law, kill them all, kill them slowly, kill them painfully.” The lines were translated and appeared in the Washington Post and numerous other media.

Psy’s representatives made a distinction, saying, “our public statement is not an apology for the entire performance but for the use of excessive words and the pain they have caused to others.” Adding, “Psy does not take an anti-American position, it was an anti-war protest and the comments were the result of emotions about those who had lost their lives. We would like to clarify the situation, given the fact that Americans have exaggerated the remarks to be solely anti-American.”

Comments from Daum:


Those American nom… They’re different from us for sure… to put it in one word, they’re “cool”. What about our zombies’ [jwajom] reaction? He was called a patriot in the morning but a traitor by the afternoon…We need to fix our rash tendencies…


Anyone can see that this wasn’t a full apology about the performance, just an apology for the words Psy used. By mentioning Hyo-sun and Mi-seon in the lyrics, American media have been forced to give attention to the incident. IReport uploaded video and background of the event… I’ve got to say, for someone who is not American and performing in America, he got pretty evenhanded treatment. To those people here who are anti-American, why do you keep on watching American movies?


Psy, I thought you were just an empty-headed celebrity but you really are a magnificent bastard.


He used extremely diplomatic words to apologize… Even if you commanded all South Korean diplomats to write an apology, they couldn’t measure up to that. It was smart of Psy to only apologize for the use of the “problematic terms”.. impressive. If your favored candidate, Moon Jae-in, becomes president, then this country will start to change little by little.


It is ironic that the saekki who first publicized this incident was a Korean-American saekki, ssibal.

dmer jk:

This is evidence that he is popular.. Don’t worry about it… It means he is that popular… There are more anti-American singers than anti-Hussein singers in America.


Of course, it’s because of incidents like this that everyone wants to leave behind Korea’s impulsiveness. I want to emigrate, too. I hate my idiot countrymen who lack common sense. I want to go to Finland or the Netherlands.


What he said was right.


Think about what would happen if a Vietnamese singer, recalling the South Korea troops who raped and murdered in their own country back when they were deployed to fight the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War, was to sing about killing Korean soldiers! It could be said that the guilt of Koreans reacting to such a song would be equivalent to how Americans felt when they learned about the Hyo-sun Mi-seon incident!

Psy didn’t do anything wrong but he just was crude in his word choice! In his own way, Psy was speaking in defense of the interests of all South Korean people.


If it had been our country, 90% of the internet users would already be calling for Psy’s death. It is impressive that some Americans would understand him. Is it possible for such understanding to exist in our country?


How can you say that America’s help to us means we should stay silent when they run over our citizens? Tsk tsk If your mother had been run over would you idiots stay silent? Tsk tsk


What exquisite timing…At the height of his popularity around the world…I’m sure those piece of shit countries that surround us are happy to see this new development…it is appropriate criticism for unjust crimes. Don’t be ashamed.


It really was not right for Psy to say those things… his true character is coming out.. if you look at the song, it begs the question of why, if American soldiers did something wrong, should we slowly kill their families??? The writer of song seems mentally unstable


After North Korean soldiers deliberately shot a South Korean tourist at Mount Kumgang, why did the liberals never protest? It is because of that contradiction that the anti-American candlelight protestors are called commies.


 He’s an opportunist.


You’re right, you’re right, we also participated in anti-war protests.


Changing one’s allegiance at the drop of a hat is the mark of an opportunist. It’s obvious that the first ones to cut and run at the beginning of a war are those who were forced to go to the army twice on a judge’s orders [Note: this references the fact that Psy was punished for falsifying a medical condition in order to avoid strenuous service and had to serve in the army for two terms]


 The apology said what needed to be said…

-I A N-:

There were definitely times when Psy went too far in what he said. I may be his countryman but that is the truth. If it had been an American calling for the death of Korean soldiers, South Korea would have exploded by now. In the case of America, they have been able to react very calmly. Psy has made his apology for what he did, now it is up to Americans to decide what to do. If they accept the apology then that is good but if they refuse then Psy has to accept that.

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