Blackpink has been hit by outrage after videos of the k-pop band handling a giant panda cub circulated online.
The clip, which sees members of the girl group touching the cub, was due to air as part of the band’s “24/365 with Blackpink” reality series.
— (@deewanimastaane) November 4, 2020
The incident took place in Everland Resort theme park in South Korea. According to CNN, the cub was born to pandas sent to the country from China’s Sichuan province in 2016.
Users of Chinese social media platform Weibo reacted angrily, with thousands demanding an apology from the band.
China’s Wildlife Conservation Association also issued a statement asking the zoo to immediately stop allowing non-professional contact with giant panda cubs.
“On Nov. 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.
Responding to the backlash, Blackpink insisted that the visit with the panda was conducted in the presence of professionals and following “strict anti-virus management and hygiene rules.”
The band have additionally decided to postpone the release of “24/365 with Blackpink”.
In a statement on Twitter they said, “In honour of the recommendations of panda experts and international cooperation practices saying that ‘the behaviour of non-professionals in close contact with baby pandas can cause misunderstanding of others,’ we decided to delay the screening of related videos.”