Prank on April Fool’s Day: K-pop Star’s Instagram joke irritated the public for inappropriate reference to the pandemic

Kim Jae-joong, K-pop singer and actor who was once in the boy band TVXQ and JYJ, posted on social media saying he has been infected with novel coronavirus on April 1 then deleted it after an hour and explained that he was just playing an April Fool’s joke to raise public awareness of the crazy spreading of the novel coronavirus.

This controversial action rapidly put him under fire on social media in many countries and regions in which this happening quickly ascended as a world trend on Twitter, outraging the public together with his fans for irrational use of a worldwide pandemic to catch up other’s attention.

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Kim Jae-joong published on Instagram that he had caught the COVID-19 as an April Fool’s prank. Source: Weibo.com

In the first post, he stated that it was his carelessness of overlooking the suggestion given by the South Korean government and friends of him that led to his contraction of this pandemic.

Also, he wrote “It’s spectacular that a person’s behavior would influence the larger community a lot. I want to apologize to who might have been inflicted the virus due to my negligence. I have already been isolated and hospitalized” as if it were truly a fact.

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Soon after Kim made the prank post, an apology statement was edited to clarify that it was just an April Fool’s joke. Source: Instagram

However, Kim uncovered the announcement was an April Fool’s prank reputedly targeted to arouse general consciousness on the horrible virus. “Having your loved ones or those you treasure to be put into danger because of the severe disease is more than aching for me. The saddest thing is that there are still people hanging out on the streets and assuming that it won’t happen to them ever.”

Taking his acquaintances and staff as examples, he expressed his concern about seeing them still having close contact with their families or peers testing positive for the virus.

“The saddest thing is that there are still people hanging out on the streets and assuming that it won’t happen to them ever.”

——Kim Jae-joong’s edited Instagram Post

Though both posts have been wiped out by himself on his account, the effect backfired among public since people considered this as a totally wrong prank without moral baseline and emotional quotient.

Facing the harsh clinical status in South Korea reporting 9,976 cases and 162 deaths where its K-pop industry has been struck tremendously for the sake of cancellation of all concerts around the world, Kim’s prank was criticized by going too far.

Jenny Leung, a 26-year-old Hong Kong fan of Kim Jae-joong confessed in a short talk, “I was disappointed and hurt by this rash post that I even regretted listening to his music before.” Having followed him since debuting, Jenny was astonished at this confusing act as she utterly worried about him first but felt cheated afterwards.

Later yesterday, South Korean netizens posted a petition on the Blue House National Petition message board titled “Please punish Kim Jae-joong for excessive April Fool’s jokes.”

As of 12:54 p.m. local time in South Korea on April 2, 12,492 had agreed to the petition and the number still climbed. To prank is a tradition on April Fool’s Day undoubtedly, but “creating” a “joke” related to a grievous event without boundary will just expose one’s ignorance and impertinence.

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More than 10,000 people signed the petition since April 1 on the Blue House Website asking for punishment to Kim. Source: The Blue House Website

The power of speaking as a public figure can never be measured and imagined. When telling an April Fool’s joke in a sensitive backdrop, thinking twice to evaluate the consequences it may guide to saves the subject as well as avoids improper taking of public resources.

Written by Joey Tang

Hello, this is Joey, a year 2 student in the University of Hong Kong studying journalism. Always read, write and watch movies in leisure time. Passionate about having real-life working experiences and planning to do some internships this year. Also interested in fashion, pop culture and photography. A summer program in LSE last year made her determined in choosing marketing as her second major. Glad to work together!

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