A trading card company has pulled a card showing K-pop group BTS with bruised faces after being accused of “supporting hate” against Asian people.
Topps, who release a series of sticker trading cards called the Garbage Pail Kids, unveiled their latest collection inspired by the 2021 Grammy nominees this week.
The set of cards, called the “Shammy Awards” includes caricatures of stars such as Billie Eilish and Meghan Thee Stallion.
However, the illustration of BTS showed the band with bruised and cut faces while a hand used a Grammy to play whack-a-mole with their heads.
Sharing pictures of the card, titled “Bopping K-Pop” on Twitter, one fan accused the company of encouraging violence towards Asian people at a time when hate crimes are on the rise in the US.
“The caricature version for the other artists seems cute and child-like, while the one for BTS depicts them as beaten, bruised with the look of fear on their face,” the Twitter user wrote.
“@Topps you’re supporting the hate against Asians, this is not even qualified as a garbage humour, this is hateful.”
Another commenter wrote: “Just learned about the disgusting caricature Topps made of BTS. That is not satire. It’s downright racist. For anyone trying to brush it off as comedic, depicting violence like that toward an Asian group during these times is hateful & dangerous. What in the world.”
On Wednesday (17 March), Topps apologised, announcing that the card had been removed from the set and would not be printed.
“We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK Shammy Awards product and we apologise for including it,” the company wrote on Twitter.
Anti-Asian hate crime in 16 of America’s largest cities increased by 149 per cent in 2020, while overall hate crimes fell by 7 per cent, a study by the Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found.
Earlier this week, eight people, many of whom were Asian women, were killed in shootings at three massage parlours in Atlanta.