SHINee’s Jonghyun Apologizes for Culturally Offensive VCR Used at Concert

Jonghyun | moonROK
Jonghyun | moonROK

Image courtesy of SM Entertainment

This weekend Jonghyun hit a major career milestone when he hosted his first solo concert, “X – Inspiration” in Seoul.

The concert however was unfortunately marred by controversy due to the use of a pre-recorded VCR clip with culturally offensive content.

In the video clip which played between stages, Jonghyun dresses up in traditional Indian attire and satirizes a Bollywood film scene. Many fans found the clip to be offensive to Indian culture, and noting the fan reaction, Jonghyun was quick to offer an sincere and well-thought out apology via his personal Twitter account. Below are his tweets and their English translations:

The first concert has ended.

I’ve received much feedback on the performance.

I would like to apologize for some concerns that have arisen.

It was pointed out that many people from a specific region were offended by a video from the concert, which depicted their region in a condescending way.

This is absolutely my fault, and I will delete the video from the VCR. This is an inexcusable mistake, and I sincerely apologize to those who felt heartbroken because of it.

The video was not intended to diminish the culture of a region with such rich history.

The storyline of the video depicts a woman who has no interest in me and how I win over her affections with the music and choreography contained in the controversial video, which was made not to make fun of other cultures, but rather with the motive of depicting that I’m confident in different genres and concepts.

The funny point of the video was supposed to be my exaggerated acting, expressions and movement, not the ridicule of another culture. In addition to the controversial outfit, there was also gangster, prisoner, fisherman, and mermaid outfits. The music is all based on EDM and hip-hop.

In my short-sightedness I have offended a lot of people, and I regret this and am reflecting on it. It was not my intent to mock another culture. Because having such an offensive video is such an inexcusable mistake, I apologize with my head deeply bowed. As I said, I will delete the video and replace it with something else.

I also want to share my thoughts on my comment during the talk segment of the concert when I said, “I respect those inclinations, but I don’t swing that way.”

I don’t remember what my exact words were, but I do remember thinking to myself that I need to speak accurately to avoid any problems arising, which is why I used the phrases “inclinations” and “swing that way”. The meaning of the word “inclination” is “tendencies that come from one’s inherent disposition”. Disposition is the essence of one’s heart. Meanwhile a tendency can be interpreted as the way that happenings, ideology, and actions are related. Therefore “inclinations” can be defined as “the specific course that one’s identity leads them on.”

I used the word “inclinations” not because I’m afraid to use words like “gay” or “homosexual” or “sexual minority,” but instead to convey that I don’t share those tendencies. That being said, if the phrase “swing that way” is a colloquial degradation of sexual minorities, then my use of it was an ignorant mistake. If this is the case, I apologize on this point as well. But “swing that way” was not the intended focus of my statement, “inclination” was.

Five or six years ago, the phrase “that hobby” became a widely used one after I said it. It wasn’t right of me to express sexual orientation itself as a hobby. This happened in my early 20’s, and since I’ve realized that I was wrong and have stopped using that phrase. I know that it’s even now being used in many fandoms. To anyone who is reading this message and understands the meaning of the phrase, I hope that you’ll stop using it from now on. It was a mistake made when I was even more ignorant than I am now, and even if it’s not much, I’d like to set things right.

These comments are entirely my own opinion and have been posted without any company meeting. I thought that because this is a concert taking place under my own name, that I should be the first one to respond with this feedback, and I will be cautious not to cause problems in my remaining performances.

If that wasn’t my exact phrasing, the sentence I had in my head was “I respect others’ incentives but I don’t swing that way,” but it seems I was unsuccessful in conveying that message. However I said it, I don’t think that the meaning was very different. My thoughts are the same.

There were probably many of you anticipating tomorrow’s concert, and I’m sorry for making you come with heavy hearts. This situation occurred because I am lacking, but the reason I’m apologizing and fixing my errors so quickly is because I want to show a more perfect performance tomorrow. Everyone who’s coming to the show tomorrow, please scream even louder!

I hope that you can forget all your other thoughts and just get lost in the concert so that the two or three hours pass in a flash. It’s late, hurry up and sleep. Let’s meet tomorrow in a better condition.


It seems Jonghyun’s apology was certainly a well thought out one, and one that came directly from him rather than a label representative. Kudos to the SHINee member for admitting his mistake and taking steps to fix it.


Source: Jonghyun’s Twitter

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1 Comment
  1. Justin 4 years ago

    I am late celebrating Jonghyun, but I have to say his apology was hilarious to me. Although sincerely apologizing, he stepped in it and kept stepping in it. He would have been my kind of people

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