Manufacturing company Topps shared their limited edition Grammy-themed Garbage Pail Kids sticker collection on Tuesday, featuring Garbage Pail Kid versions of Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion, BTS, and other nominees. But the BTS one stood out because of its problematic, ill-timed depiction of the K-pop group. The sticker card, titled “Bopping K-Pop”, features the BTS members in a Whack-A-Mole game, with bruised faces and stitches. The announcement of the sticker cards came on the same day that a white terrorist was arrested for allegedly killing eight people—including six of Asian descent—at three Atlanta-area spas. The mass shooting is thought to be a hate crime targeting Asian women.
But even before the mass shooting, there were numerous cases of violence towards Asians, fueled by bigotry enflamed by those blaming China for the COVID-19 pandemic. After many took to Twitter to complain about the collectible card, Topps issued an apology on Wednesday morning.
“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,” reads the statement. “We have removed the BTS sticker card from the set, we have not printed any of the sticker card and it will not be available.”
But as BuzzFeed News points out, many felt that Topps statement was insensitive because it didn’t acknowledge why they missed the mark on their decision to depict BTS as bruised up. As one fan explained on Twitter, “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.” BTS have not commented on the sticker card.