Tzuyu’s Apology Was Never Going To Work

Tzuyu

Consider this a safe space and-or quarantine area for all discussion on Taiwanese/Chinese political revolutionary/unrepentant traitor Tzuyu and the hugely dumb but inevitable controversy surrounding Tzuyu’s TWICE profile labeling her nationality as Taiwanese.

To recap, JYP Entertainment has pretty much done everything outside of personally vowing to fuck a Chinese flag to try and placate those who are Actually Upset about the (likely entirely non-political) national identification of a sixteen year-old. The label issued an apology, suspended Tzuyu’s activities in China, had JYP himself release a separate apology and filmed a personal apology from Tzuyu that looks like it was taken as a part of some low budget hostage crisis movie.

Of course, despite the multitude of apologies for an unintended non-offense, critics have unsurprisingly not been won over by any of them but especially Tzuyu’s because, well, the girl looked damn terrified and didn’t call on Taiwan to subjugate itself to the glorious mainland or something. JYP Entertainment recently decided to issue another quasi-apology/clarification for Tzuyu’s earlier apology-clarification after critics claimed that the label forced Tzuyu to release her own statement on the overblown matter.

We are releasing our stance on misconceptions about TWICE’s Tzuyu’s apology.

Because Tzuyu is underage, we talked with her parents from the beginning about what to do, and we waited until Tzuyu’s parents were in Korea.

The label cannot and should not force an individual to think a certain way, and this never happened. Tzuyu’s parents came to Korea, talked to Tzuyu, made the decisions, and handled the apology.

As Tzuyu is still working hard, Tzuyu and Tzuyu’s parents want this situation to be resolved quickly, and they hope that everyone will support Tzuyu.

While one can hardly fault JYP Entertainment for going into full-blown damage control now, the problem lies in the label’s decision to issue multiple apologies in the first place as it gives the impression that there is actually something to apologize for in this whole mess of Chinese-Taiwanese identity politics that was totally not the point of Tzuyu’s official bio. It is why the label’s initial apology was actually pretty good as it made sure to remind people that Tzuyu hadn’t actually said or done anything to warrant the blowback that she received from Chinese netizens. Unfortunately, each subsequent apology has only served to undermine that point, from JYP’s lamentations that “me and my company are at fault for not teaching her well in place of her parents” to Tzuyu’s comments that “I am very, very apologetic and guilty.”

So, yeah. The apologies were never going to work and they may have actually made the whole situation worse (Poor Tzuyu’s understandably stiff recitation of her apology has, of course, led some people to view the entire thing as an insincere act). The whole matter has now taken on a life of its own and it will likely be a while before things return to normal for Tzuyu and TWICE (which is honestly a big deal because TWICE, despite the relative strength of their debut single, is still an unestablished new group at the end of the day).

The most regrettable thing about this whole ordeal is that, if any company should have been able to foresee and prevent this exact thing from happening, it’s JYP Entertainment. The label has made overseas promotions and multi-culturalism a pillar of its business model, from the Wonder Girls’ early foolhardy attempt to break into the American marketplace to the ethnic diversity of miss A, Got7 and TWICE.  The only lesson to take away from this is that it’s probably very stupid to try and reason with a netizen outrage machine that will only see attempts to address their perceived grievances as vindication of their views.

#FreeTzuyu

#TWICELivesMatter

#NeverNegotiateWithNetizens

*I promise that I will review Stellar’s music video this week. Just didn’t have the time today and this Tzuyu post ended up being twice as long as I had originally intended.

 

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7 comments

  1. My take is that the apology worked miraculously well, especially considering the no-win situation JYP seemed to be in. In fact, it worked so well, I think it’s likely that there were some behind-the-scenes negotiations with Chinese authorities approving the video:
    (1) China has stopped censoring and excluding JYP artists, including TWICE. In fact, they have denied ever censoring them in the first place.
    (2) Huang An’s Weibo account has been suspended.
    (3) The Chinese government is censoring searches and comments regarding the incident.
    (4) The apology seemed somber and serious enough to be remotely credible, while simultaneously portraying Tzuyu as a helpless victim.
    (5) Tzuyu is now a hero (excepting the diehards, who would never be happy no matter what).
    (6) JYP is taking a hell of a beating, but it will pass.
    Pretty much a best-case scenario under the circumstances.
    Of course, it would have been far preferable if Tzuyu and JYP had told the Chinese nationalists to go stuff themselves, and focused promotions on the rest of the world, where their courage would have been rewarded with riches and fame. But that was never on the table.

    1. The first apology was enough in my mind as it admitted to an unintended oversight and mainly straddled the line of being non-political as possible pretty well. Everything after that just seemed to be a wasted effort. Granted, the huge amount of grief that this has raised has definitely garnered sympathy for Tzuyu but that will happen when a story like this becomes this big (especially from those of us who don’t have strong feelings about China-Taiwan relations). I do agree that JYPE has done everything that is feasible but I’m not sold on the idea that they necessarily had to. I also agree that this will pass but do wonder how this will impact TWICE’s future, if at all.

    2. If it’s really true that China platforms and TV stations are no longer sanctioning Twice/JYP, then that’s great news and a step towards normality. The way I see it, JYP had no other choice but to issue an apology after their stock price took a sharp decline. That was the smart and responsible apolitical thing to do.
      I feel bad for Tzuyu because her name became a censored search term in China, no thanks in part to the current Taiwanese president & all 3 presidential candidates rallying behind her after that awful apology, filmed by the same crew that makes ISIS ‘confession’ videos. God forbid Tzuyu becomes the (attractive) poster girl for Taiwan pro-independence.
      Now JYP Entertainment might have avoided this fiasco somewhat but never underestimate the effects of trolls like Taiwan-born-but-pro-China-has-been-singer Huang An and the absolute clusterf**k that’s China-Taiwan cross-strait relationship.
      It does make me wonder if there’s anyone in Beijing with half of brain that can see how bad this entire episode reflects on China. Regardless of which side of the political fence you fall, no one likes to see an innocent 16yr old girl bullied online, and pretty one at that. Not cool nor smart, China and your netizens. So what’s next, go after the 3 Japanese members of Twice 3 because of we all know how warm and fuzzy Sino-Japanese relations are.

  2. Weekly reminder that Kpop’s main audience is teenage imbeciles with too much time on their hands. Sucks how much non-drama idiot forum-goers seem to cause 😦
    Poor kid though, I can’t imagine it being nice when your agency and its owner has to apologise on your behalf for apparently being dumb despite not doing anything.

  3. Kpoptartsarebestpoptarts · · Reply

    It all boils down to money. It’s an uncomfortable reality that we as fans have to choose to ignore because if we don’t we we would probably end up being completely repulsed by the whole industry. JYP simply can’t afford being shut out of the lucrative Chinese market. Thier behavior in reaction to this non-occurrence makes that quite clear. It’s all about the Benjamins, as the kids say. Or used to say anyway. What do I know. Damn kids always on my lawn.

  4. This whole thing is insane. I can understand why JYP is desperately trying to salvage is company, I can even understand Tzuyu being begged to take one for the team to make the pain stop. Thinking “at least she didn’t get booted from the group” sets the bar pretty low but thats how crazy it all seems. I truly hope this doesn’t break Tzuyu.

  5. Well, even if JYP loses those lucrative RMBs, the international market (including Taiwan) would still provide enough to keep it afloat… not to mention the domestic Korean market.

    Instead, JYP chose to cave and pleased nobody.

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