Topps has pulled a trading card depicting a bruised and beaten BTS.

On the heels of the 2021 Grammys this past weekend, the company revealed their “Shammy Awards” Garbage Pail Kids sticker collection, which featured satirical drawings of big-name performers like Harry Styles and Billie Eilish.

Related | The Deeper Racial Implications of Comparing BTS to COVID-19

Amongst the cards was an illustration of BTS being battered with a Grammy Award in a game of Whac-a-Mole. However, the collection was also released on the same day that eight people — six of whom were Asian women — were murdered in Georgia spa businesses, prompting many to criticize Topps’ decision to release an image of battered Asian men amidst a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes.

“Just learned about the disgusting caricature Topps made of BTS,” as USA Today’s Fatima Farha tweeted. “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.”

…..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.

— fatima (@fatimafarha_) March 17, 2021

As a result, Topps issued a statement on Wednesday, writing, “We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK Shammy Awards product and we apologize for including it.”

“We have removed the BTS sticker card from the set,” the company continued. “We have not printed any of the sticker card and it will not be available.”

pic.twitter.com/0l9QJkQauf

— Topps (@Topps) March 17, 2021

That said, Topps’ so-called apology was quickly derided by BTS fans and members of the Asian community for its failure to truly engage with the issue at hand, with many saying that the statement sounded similar to the “‘I’m sorry you got upset'” non-apology.

“It seems you don’t understand the implications of these cards,” as one commenter wrote. “This isn’t about a fandom or a band. This is about your choice to depict violence against Asian men under the guise of satire, in spite of recent attacks on members of the Asian community. That is the issue at stake.”

Meanwhile, others echoed this sentiment by calling on Topps to directly acknowledge the “racist undertones” of the image and “the fact that only for the POC group did you portray the caricatures as having violence against them.”

“Twisting this anger as being about the inclusion of a portrayal instead of the portrayal being, at worst, overtly racist and, at best, boneheadedly tone-deaf in a time marred by anti-asian attacks is really not the apology you think it is,” a third person wrote, while another added, “This isn’t just about BTS. Apologize to the entire Asian community.”

“I’m sorry you got upset” is not an apology @Topps. Take real responsibility. Acknowledge the insensitivity & implicit racism in your portrayal of BTS. The lack of accountability & deflection of blame only invalidate the feelings of those hurt & contribute to hate against Asians.

— ᴮᴱ BTS Press⁷ (@BTSPressData) March 17, 2021

It seems you don’t understand the implications of these cards. This isn’t about a fandom or a band. This is about your choice to depict violence against Asian men under the guise of satire, in spite of recent attacks on members of the Asian community. That is the issue at stake.

— Shesawseesawᴮᴱ⁷ ⟭⟬ 🍊 ⟬⟭ (@cypherluscious) March 17, 2021

this is a non-apology. apologise for the racist undertones and the fact that only for the poc group did you portray the caricatures as having violence against them during a time when Asians are experiencing a lot of abuse. apologise for being racist, not for ‘inluding’ it

— hourly bts⁷ (@hourlybangtan) March 17, 2021

twisting this anger as being about the inclusion of a portrayal instead of the portrayal being, at worst, overtly racist and, at best, boneheadedly tone-deaf in a time marred by anti-asian attacks is really not the apology you think it is

— lucy ford (@lucyj_ford) March 17, 2021

This isn’t just about BTS. Apologize to the entire Asian community.

— Melissa Foe (@melissafoe) March 17, 2021

Topps has yet to address the criticism of their statement. Read what else people are saying about the card, below.

Why was it upsetting? Clarify that to the public, then make a proper apology to the Asian community.

You depicted an Asian public figures as badly bruised and beaten down fully knowing the growing hate against Asian is happening in your country.

You are enabling hate. https://t.co/jzSywlOChJ

— Dita ᴮᴱ⁷ (@almostdita) March 17, 2021

Explain to us WHY & HOW you got the idea of portraying asian artists with an illustration of representing violence and discrimination towards the group and the Asian community WITHOUT ANY OBJECTIONS and did you even realize that it was going to be sold to children?!?!. Explain.

— dee ☕🌻 (@logmyg) March 17, 2021

You missed to acknowledge the part why people are upset?????? This is not an apology. Apologies properly to BTS and Asian Community.

— j-hope daily™ (@jhopestudio) March 17, 2021

“we apologize for including it” so you’re not going to apologize for being extremely racist??

— Nana (ia) (@soobinlovbot) March 17, 2021

your “apology” should be directed at bts and the entire asian community for capitalizing on asian ridicule and depicting violence against asians especially in a time where asian hate crimes are steadily rising. i beg you understand Why that was an issue in the first place. https://t.co/khlwFZJXQW

— ree⁷ (@jkyoongs) March 17, 2021

Photo via Getty





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