Thai girl band BNK48 sorry for Nazi T-shirt controversy


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One of Thailand’s most popular pop bands has apologised, after a member wore a T-shirt with a Nazi swastika on stage during a televised rehearsal.

Photos of BNK48 singer Pichayapa “Namsai” Natha with the shirt went viral this weekend, causing the Israeli embassy to express “shock and dismay”.

The CEO of BNK48, and the 19-year-old singer, have met the Israeli ambassador and apologised.

Many Thais say they are unaware of the history of the Nazis in World War Two.

After photos of the rehearsal, Israel’s deputy ambassador to Thailand Smadar Shapira, said: “Presenting Nazi symbols by the band’s singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world, whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis.”

There was criticism of the band online, although some fans argued that they were also unaware of what Nazi symbols meant.

BNK48 said in a statement that the “costume which included inappropriate print” had “caused dismay and distress to people affected by the past event on the crime against humanity all over the world”.

It said the band would “make every effort to ensure that an incident of this kind will never happen again”.

Meanwhile, Namsai apologised at a concert on Saturday, and also said in a statement that she would work hard to be better informed.

The band has agreed to take part in an educational workshop on the Holocaust to raise awareness, Ms Shapira said on Twitter.

It is not the first time Nazi-related images have sparked an outcry in Thailand.

In 2013, Chulalongkorn University students painted a mural that showed Hitler alongside superheros such as Batman, while in 2016 Silpakorn University students performed the Nazi salute, while one student dressed as Adolf Hitler, during a cosplay event.

There have been similar controversies in other parts of Asia, including a Taiwanese school that held a mock Nazi rally for a Christmas parade, and an Indian MP who attended parliament dressed as Adolf Hitler as a stunt.

Nazi imagery is not uncommon in India, where Adolf Hitler is admired by some young people and his autobiography, Mein Kampf, is popular.


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