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Insensitive BTS Garbage Pail Kids Sticker Removed from Grammys Set

The card depicted the K-pop megastars being beaten by a Grammy in a game of whack-a-mole

bts tops garage pail kids bopping k-pop 2021 grammys
BTS, photo via Big Hit Entertainment
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    Following the 2021 Grammy Awards, popular trading card manufacturer Topps announced its “Shammy Awards” Garbage Pail Kids sticker collection. However, the company has since removed the BTS sticker from the set following swift backlash over the insensitive depiction of the K-pop stars amidst a rise in anti-Asian violence.

    The Garage Pail Kids are a long-running series spoofing and satirizing Cabbage Patch dolls by drawing characters in negative, often violent or vulgar situations. The Shammy set aimed to poke fun at some of music’s biggest names on music’s biggest night, focusing in on artists’ attire or performances. There’s a drawing of Taylor “Tree-Swift” becoming a tree during her woodland performance, Harry “Boa” Styles being attacked by an angry green boa, “Bouyant” Billie Eilish singing atop a sunken car, and “Medalling” Megan Thee Stallion carrying her well-deserved golden gramophone atop a horse.

    When it came to the drawing of BTS, though, nothing about the artists’ own choices were chosen as satirical targets. Instead, the “Bopping K-Pop” sticker saw the band stuck in a game of whack-a-mole being beaten bruised and scarred by a Grammy award.

    Even if the goal was to mock the Recording Academy’s continued use of BTS as a promotional boon despite never giving them a music award, the fact that the only Asian artists include in Topps’ set were depicted as victims of an act of violence did not go over with fans. The outcry was immediate, decrying Topps for “capitalizing on asian ridicule and depicting violence against asians especially in a time where asian hate crimes are steadily rising,” as Twitter users @jkyoongs put it.

    Worse, the insensitivity was highlighted by the fact that just hours after Topps’ announcement, eight individuals, six of whom were Asian, were shot and killed in Atlanta. The suspect has blamed a sex addiction for his actions, though it’s hard to discuss the fetishization of Asian women without understanding how race and misogyny play major factors.

    Upon pulling the BTS stickers from the set and adding an “art subject to change” disclaimer to its store page, Topps issued the following statement:

    However, many noted that the “apology” completely failed to address the community it had actually offended, let alone the band themselves. Find some of those responses, as well as the insensitive image itself, below.

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