A popular Thai music act has apologised amid a scandal sparked when one of its members wore a shirt showing the swastika flag of Nazi Germany during a performance.
The incident involving the girl group BNK48 occurred two days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marked on Sunday with sombre ceremonies in other parts of the world to remember the six million Jews and others killed in Adolf Hitler’s notorious death camps.
Israel’s embassy in Thailand posted a statement on Twitter expressing “shock and dismay over the Nazi outfit worn by the singer”.
“Presenting Nazi symbols by the band’s singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis,” it said.
The performer, 19-year-old Pichayapa “Namsai” Natha, blamed her own ignorance as she delivered a tearful apology and asked for forgiveness.
In the video apology made on the stage where the group usually performs, she dropped to her knees as she finished her brief statement and was comforted by fellow band members.
The apology was also posted on her Instagram account.
The Thai band at the Israeli embassy, where they met diplomats to apologise:
1/5 The CEO of the #BNK48 and the performer #NamsaiBNK48 have expressed their will to meet with H.E. Ambassador of Israel Dr. Meir Shlomo in order to express their apologies in person. pic.twitter.com/MSqkps4Fri
— Smadar Shapira ???????? (@ShapiraSmadar) January 27, 2019
Management of the group, noted more for their marketing prowess than their musical abilities, also apologised that they had “inadvertently caused dismay and distress”.
Incidents involving insensitive use of Nazi symbols occur from time to time in Thailand, where there is little awareness of the Holocaust and an inclination to use them as design elements or comic props.
Past scandals have involved bars, restaurants, motels and clothing using swastikas and images of Hitler for decorative purposes, but on several occasions students at schools and colleges have mimicked Nazi regalia and rituals, including the infamous “Heil Hitler” salute, in skits, artworks and ceremonies.
Late last year, management for the South Korean hit K-pop boy band BTS had to apologise for one of its members wearing a T-shirt depicting the explosion of an atomic bomb, and for another member wearing a hat with a Nazi emblem in a magazine photo book.
Band members previously flew flags with what appeared to be the swastika during a concert.
In 2016, the producer for a Japanese girl group joined Sony Music in apologising after performing in outfits resembling Nazi-era German military uniforms.
Keyakizaka46, a group of about 20 mostly teenage girls, appeared at a concert in black knee-length dresses that looked like military overcoats, and black capes and officer caps with a Nazi-like eagle emblem.
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