aespa’s Giselle comes under controversy for her ‘suicide’ remark on camera: Harmless or insensitive?

Many netizens also criticize Vogue’s editing team for not removing this controversial remark before posting the video.

On December 11, Vogue uploaded to their official YouTube channel an 8-minute video titled 24 Hours with aespa. Through the video, fans have the opportunity to follow aespa members on a tour around New York City during their trip to the States to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last month.

There seems to be no problem with this video as it simply shows aespa‘s activities in a day in New York, from dining at a cafe in Soho to admiring the city views city ​​and taking photos at the Empire State Building. However, not long after its release, Vogue’s 24 Hours with aespa video has sparked a controversy over a remark by Giselle at 3:41.

24 Hours with aespa

When aespa members were taking pictures of New York City from above, Giselle said (as shown in the video’s subtitles): “I would die if my phone drops”. The word Giselle used in Korean is “자살말림“, which means suicide, so the more accurate translation to English of what she said is “If my phone drops, I will kill myself/commit suicide“. Because suicide is a sensitive matter, as soon as this video was posted, Giselle‘s remark immediately sparked heated debates on online communities in Korea. Many posts related to this surfaced on Theqoo, Nate Pann, Instiz,…

In response to the question “Is this something an idol should say in a video posted for fans to watch?”, controversy has erupted among Korean netizens. Many netizens refuse to understand why Giselle gets criticized for what she said because they believe it was only a common joke between close friends. However, many others think that Giselle was being thoughtless for mentioning ‘suicide’ on camera, especially when she is a public figure. 

A netizen claiming to like Giselle shared their thoughts on this situation:

“Honestly, Giselle’s suicide remark, I personally think it was a thoughtless act… She’s not young anymore, already in her 20s, not to mention a celebrity with somewhat an impact on young people, so for Giselle to say the word “suicide” in a public place like that, a part of it was her fault… Even when a commoner said something like that, it wouldn’t look nice either. Meanwhile she’s an idol, such a remark on camera is a bit.. Anyway, I don’t think she did the right thing. In case anyone suspects me of being an anti of aespa or anything, I’m gonna say it first, I don’t hold any grudges against Giselle. I actually like her, these are the photos of Giselle that I saved to my phone in October.”

On the other hand, many people also criticized Vogue’s editorial department for not carefully censoring content before publishing.  The online community pointed out that the scene where Giselle made that controversial statement is not so important, and they can completely cut it out or simply mute it before posting to avoid misunderstandings.

  • I also think that Giselle is a bit reckless in this situation.  Aespa fans don’t always just curse at people who point out their mistakes.  You’d be better off admitting your idols were wrong instead of doing that.”
  • “Well, normal people often say that when they finish their exams… like “I’ll kill myself if I get a low score this time”, so why criticize Giselle ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ”
  • Being a female idol is really hard… Giselle must have kept her mouth shut to please you…ㅋㅋㅋ”
  • “It’s true that Giselle was reckless but I think the editing department is also at fault. Why don’t they censor it thoroughly before posting, even if they cut that part, it won’t affect the whole video.”
  • “It’s normal to say the word “suicide” so freely, isn’t it??? People’s thoughts seem too liberal these days…”
  • “The problem is, have any idols ever said something like that? Last time there was only one A-list male idol (?) who said something like that and got a lot of hate. It’s wrong for a male idol to say something like that.  A famous artist said the word ‘suicide’ out loud, but see it as a joke for fun.”
  • “N-word + suicide ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ The inevitable result of idols who have no talent but only get popular thanks to their company’s support”
  • “They didn’t say it in public… They were just talking to each other in private.”
    • “They know the camera was right behind them.”
    • So do you dare say that while recording??  In the state of knowing very well there will be hundreds of thousands of people watching your every move?”

Earlier, at the end of October this year, Giselle was also criticized for lip-syncing to the word “n*gga”, which is a racist word for black people, right in front of the camera. The backlash was so intense at the time that SM had to rush to make the video private, and Giselle herself had to issue an apology on aespa‘s official Twitter.


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