Psy issues apology for anti-American lyrics

By 김영원
  • Published : Dec 8, 2012 - 12:53
  • Updated : Dec 8, 2012 - 16:26

South Korean rapper PSY, who sings the popular "Gangnam Style," issued an appology Saturday for harsh lyrics in a heavy-metal song about the U.S. military he sang at a 2004 concert. (AP-Yonhap)
South Korean rapper-singer Psy has issued a formal apology Saturday for anti-American lyrics he performed at a 2004 concert protesting the U.S. presence in Iraq, following their recent revelation in U.S. media two days before he is set to perform for the U.S. president and his family.

The 35-year-old rapper, who became a worldwide star with his hit song "Gangnam Style," said in the statement that the concert was held as a "deeply emotional reaction" to the war in Iraq following the beheading of a South Korean missionary there and the 2002 deaths of two South Korean schoolgirls who were crushed by an armored recovery vehicle.

The controversial Korean-language lyrics that triggered the outrage, particularly in the United States where Psy has gained a large following, call for slowly and painfully killing U.S. soldiers and their families. 

They were performed during a live performance of Korean rock band NEXT's song "Dear American" at the 2004 concert, but the English translation of the lyrics has only recently been widely circulated in the U.S. media. 

Media reports also said the singer took part in a demonstration against U.S. troops stationed in South Korea two years before the controversial concert.

The revelation of the lyrics comes as Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, is scheduled to perform at the annual "Christmas in Washington" concert on Sunday, U.S. Eastern Standard Time, with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama set to attend.

According to news reports, the White House has said the president will be present at the concert as planned and broadcaster TNT said no changes have been made to the event's line up. 

Both had been receiving calls via social media to either drop Psy or for the president to skip the event. The event will be televised on Dec. 21, U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

Psy stressed that he was sorry for any pain he may have caused and hoped that members of the U.S. military and all Americans will accept his apology. 

"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 said. 

Psy attended Berklee College of Music and Boston University in the late 1990s.

Psy also said that while he was a person who advocated freedom of expression, he understood that certain limits must be placed on choosing words, even for song lyrics.

"While it's important that we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so," he said.

Psy's video for "Gangnam Style" went viral over the summer, catapulting him to international stardom. It is currently the most watched YouTube video of all time with more than 900 million views.

YG Entertainment, Psy's management firm, meanwhile, said that the rapper's apology is limited to the inappropriate lyrics used and not the overall concert itself.

"Psy at the time attended an anti-war concert and not an anti-American gathering and that the song the rapper sang was mostly centered on innocent lives lost during the war in Iraq and the tragic accident involving two South Korean schoolgirls," the Seoul-based company said. (Yonhap News)

<관련 한글 기사>

'반미 노래' 논란 싸이, 美국민에 사과

가수 싸이(박재상•35)가 미국 국민에게 과거 반미(反美) 감정을 부추기는 노래를 부른 데 대해 사과했다.

현재 미국에 머물고 있는 싸이는 7일(현지 시간) 공식 입장을 담은 보도자료를 내 "선동적인, 부적절한 언어를 썼던 것에 대해 깊이 후회하고 있다"면서 "내가 쓴 단어들로 인해 상처받은 모든 분들께 사과드린다"고 밝혔다.

그는 "자랑스러운 한국인으로서, 또한 미국에서 공부하고 생활했던 시절을 인생의 아주 중요한 부분으로 생각하는 사람으로서 한국을 포함한 전 세계의 자유와  민주주의를 수호하기 위한 미군의 희생을 잘 알고 있다"며 이같이 말했다.

싸이는 "8년 전 내가 부른 그 노래는 전 세계에 반전 여론이 확산하는 상황에서 터진 이라크 전쟁과, 한국인 소녀 두 명이 숨진 사건(주한미군의 장갑차에 치여  숨진 효순•미선 양 사건을 지칭)에 대한 감정적인 대응이었다"고 돌아봤다. 그러면서 "나는 표현의 자유를 옹호하는 사람이지만, 언어를 사용할 때 넘지 말아야 할 '선'이 있다는 걸 깨닫게 됐다"면서 "내가 쓴 가사가 어떻게 해석됐을지 생각하니 죄송한 마음을 금할 수가 없다"고 했다.

그는 "최근 몇 달간 미군 앞에서 공연할 기회가 있었는데 그건 내게 큰  영광이었다"면서 "과거 선동적인, 부적절한 언어를 썼던 데 대해 사과한다. 미국 국민 모두가 내 사과를 받아주시기를 희망한다"고 말했다.

앞서 미국 언론은 이날 '강남스타일'로 미국에서 인기를 끌고 있는 싸이가 2002년 주한미군 반대 집회에 참여해 반미 퍼포먼스를 했으며, 2004년에는 '이라크인을고문하고 죽이는' 미군과 그 가족을 해치자고 선동하는 랩을 했다고 보도했다.

일부 언론은 이 같은 사실을 들어 싸이가 8일 백악관에서 버락 오바마 미국 대통령 등 주요 인사들이 참석하는 크리스마스 파티에서 공연하는 것은 부적절하다고 주장하기도 했다.