Thai girl group in hot water over singer’s swastika shirt

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BANGKOK | A popular Thai music act has apologized after a scandal arising when one of its members wore a shirt portraying the swastika flag of Nazi Germany during a performance.

FILE – In this June 2, 2017, file photo, Thai pop band BNK 48 performs for the first time in a large commercial facility in Bangkok, Thailand. The popular Thai music act BNK 48 has set off a scandal after one of its members wore a shirt showing the swastika flag of Nazi Germany during a performance. (The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images)

The incident involving the girl group BNK48 occurred just two days ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, honored Sunday with somber ceremonies in other parts of the world to remember the 6 million Jews and others killed in Adolf Hitler’s notorious death camps.

Israel’s embassy in Thailand posted a statement on Twitter expressing “shock and dismay over the Nazi outfit worn by the singer.”

“Presenting Nazi symbols by the band’s singer, hurt the feelings of millions around the world, whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis,” it said.

The performer, 19-year-old Pichayapa ‘Namsai’ Natha, blamed her own ignorance for her actions as she offered a tearful apology and asked for forgiveness. In the video apology made on the stage where the group usually performs, she dropped to her knees as she finished her brief statement and was comforted by fellow band members. Her apology was also posted on her Instagram account.

Management of the group, noted more for its marketing prowess than its musical abilities, also apologized that they had “inadvertently caused dismay and distress to people affected” by the historical crime against humanity.

Incidents involving insensitive use of Nazi symbols occur from time to time in Thailand, where there is little awareness of the Holocaust and an inclination to use them as design elements or comic props.