Kpop group BLACKPINK had to postpone an episode of their new reality show 24/365 With Blackpink after being accused of endangering the health of a baby panda.
According to The Straits Times, netizens online called out the group after the trailer for the episode was released on November 4.
The episode features Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa visiting Fu Bao, the first panda born in South Korea, in the sanctuary at Everland Amusement and Animal Park in Yongin.
In the clip, Jennie and Rose were tasked to check the mother panda’s health as per the zookeeper’s instructions while Lisa and Jisoo were to prepare food.
All four members wore masks, gloves and other protective gear while carrying out all these tasks.
However, Chinese netizens claimed that all four BLACKPINK members wore a lot of makeup which could cause health complications for the baby panda.
Also, several netizens said the four members did not wear proper protective gear such as face masks while preparing the food and gloves when touching the mother panda’s palm. To be fair, even the person-in-charge did not wear gloves, as seen in the video below.
Some even pointed out that only zookeepers were allowed to hold the baby panda in China.
Blinks were quick to support BLACKPINK and reminded others that the rules of handling pandas in China and South Korea are different.
Blinks also reiterated that the group followed the zookeeper’s instructions and did not act on their own accord.
Since the backlash, the original trailer has been taken down from their Youtube channel but a preview can be seen below.
YG Entertainment released a statement:
“When Blackpink met the baby panda, all members wore hygiene gloves, masks and protective clothing ... hands and shoes were disinfected at every transition.”
“Nevertheless, in respect of international cooperation practices and recommendations from panda experts who say that non-professionals having close contact with the baby panda can cause misunderstandings, we decided to withhold the release of the related video.”
China’s Wildlife Conservation Association also claimed that Everland “violated the professional requirements for the protection of giant pandas” when they let members of BLACKPINK handle the panda cub.
“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 association said in a statement.
“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.”