ZEROBASEONE’s Park Gunwook faces backlash for suggesting neutrality before the Asian Games men’s football final between Korea and Japan
On October 7th, just hours before the Asian Games men’s football final between Korea and Japan, ZEROBASEONE member Park Gunwook had a live broadcast. His remark during this broadcast has raised eyebrows and led to a backlash.
In particular, Park Gunwook said, “I said that I would watch the football match with the other members. I even mentioned yesterday that I might go live to watch it with everyone. But anyway, this is a match between Korea and Japan… Because I’m an idol, I should remain neutral (laughs). You all understand that feeling, right? I believe you do. If you think about it, it makes sense, doesn’t it? Ah (of course), I’m Korean. I am Korean, but fans who love me are from all over the world, right? I believe you will understand. Please be generous and understanding.“
This comment, seemingly advocating for neutrality in the context of a heated sporting rivalry, struck a nerve with many Korean netizens who were quick to voice their displeasure.
The Korea-Japan rivalry has always been a sensitive subject for the Korean people. As the match in question was a final involving the national teams of both countries, the expectation of unwavering support for the Korean team ran high among Korean fans.
Park Gunwook’s remark, seen by some as a deviation from this expected patriotism, resulted in critical comments from Korean netizens.
Korean netizens expressed their opinions on Gunwook’s remark:
- “So, when it comes to money, there is no patriotism.”
- “Isn’t this odd? ZEROBASEONE doesn’t even have any Japanese members, so why would he say that?”
- “It’s cheering for football, what’s neutrality got to do with it?ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ”
- “Why should Korean idols remain neutral? Do you live in a neutral country or something?”
- “What is he even saying? Does he not have a nationality? I hope he thinks before he speaks.”
- “Why suddenly bring up things like ‘neutrality’? Before being an idol, he’s Korean”
- “Does he have dual citizenship or something?”
- “What? I don’t think Japanese fans would say anything about Koreans supporting Koreaㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ What kind of neutrality are you talking about?”