|BTS rapper Suga. / Korea Times file|
By Jung Min-ho
Big Hit Entertainment has apologized for using infamous cult leader Jim Jones' speech as the intro to BTS member Suga's mixtape track "What Do You Think?"
At the beginning of the song, which was released on May 22, Jones said (from his 1977 sermon) to his followers that "… though you are dead, yet you shall live, and he that liveth and believeth shall never die."
Jones was leader of the cult, the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, better known as its informal name "Jonestown," a remote settlement in the Guyanese jungle.
Jones and the group became internationally known in November, 1978, after more than 900 members, including many children, died in a mass suicide, an act that he ordered. The poisonings followed the killings of U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and several journalists, who went there to investigate claims that some people were being held against their will.
Until 9/11, the incident was the largest single incident of intentional civilian death in U.S. history.
After taking flak from people around the world, Big Hit Entertainment removed the excerpt from the song.
"The vocal sample of the speech in the introduction of the song 'What Do You Think?' on the mixtape was chosen for the mood of the song by the producer, who did not know about the speaker," the agency said in a statement Sunday.
"The sample was reviewed before being released, but our company failed to acknowledge its inappropriateness … Big Hit Entertainment reviews various content based on our standards. But, from time to time, we have experienced the limits (of our system)."
The agency said that none of its officials or Suga knew the tragic stories behind the voice.
"We apologize for anyone who felt uncomfortable," the agency said. "We re-released the song after removing the part. The artist was also embarrassed and felt responsible for the problem. We will take this as a lesson and review our review system thoroughly."