Big Hit Entertainment, the manager of K-pop boy band BTS, has apologised after band member Suga drew flak over the use of an audio clip in a track from his latest album.

The agency issued the apology on Sunday (May 31) because the clip was linked to infamous American cult leader Jim Jones, who is responsible for the 1978 massacre of more than 900 of his followers in Jonestown, Guyana, in South America.

A voice sampling from a sermon by Jones was included in the track “What Do You Think?” in Suga’s solo mixtape album D-2, released on May 22 under the rapper’s alias Agust D.

“The producer on ‘What Do You Think?’ chose (the audio) in consideration of the overall atmosphere of the track, not knowing the identity of the speaker,” Big Hit said in its statement, reported South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency.

“We apologise to anyone who may have been hurt or offended,” said Big Hit, adding that it failed to recognise the “inappropriate” nature of the sample.

The agency added that Suga, whose real name is Min Yoon Gi, also felt a deep sense of responsibility over the incident.

Big Hit has deleted the audio sample from the track and released a revised version.

The blunder comes as Big Hit last week filed for an initial public offering in South Korea.

A statement issued last Thursday (May 28) by the Korea Exchange didn’t include the planned size of the offering or a timeline.

The deal could give Big Hit a market capitalisation of as much as 2 trillion won (S$2.29 billion), the Korea Economic Daily reported as it cited financial industry sources it did not identify.

The audio sampling incident is not the first time BTS members have courted controversy.

In 2018, a Japanese TV show cancelled an appearance by the popular K-pop group amid controversy over a picture of member Park Ji Min wearing a T-shirt depicting the US atomic bombing of Japan.

Image: TPG/Click Photos
Text: Chelsea Kiew / The Straits Times / June 2020