Global sportswear manufacturer Puma has found itself at the receiving end of a backlash from NCT 127 fans. The controversy ignited earlier today when Puma tweeted about their new campaign, “PUMA TUFF,” with NCT 127 as the ambassador modeling it. The SM Entertainment group had joined the Puma family as the new Asia Pacific Ambassador last August. However, the partnership is now under scrutiny due to Puma’s relations with Israel.
The relations have become a point of contention which has led to an outcry from fans demanding the termination of the contract between NCT 127 and Puma.
we do not support a brand that is funding the genocide and mass murder of palestinians and we urge everyone to unfollow their accounts on twitter and instagram and stop supporting any content or any products they push out https://t.co/nHVEA7JvM9
— ً (@LMKFEED) October 28, 2023
please dont support puma they are funding the genocide in palestine https://t.co/3efWKL6UYN
— han (@renlehae) October 28, 2023
Twitter has been flooded with fans expressing their concerns under Puma’s most recent tweet featuring members of the SM Entertainment boy band. Fans are urging NCT 127 to cut ties with Puma and halt any further promotional content under this partnership. The heart of the issue lies in the allegations against Puma, among many other popular brands, supporting Israel amidst its ongoing conflict with Palestine.
@NCTsmtown_127 please terminate your contract with puma and stop the release of further promotional content with the members. puma funds the genocide of palestinians. we, as fans of nct 127, do not want the members associated with a business that supports an apartheid state.
— 젠 .◜ ࡇ ◝ (@jenyoitz) October 28, 2023
@NCTsmtown_127 please terminate your contract with puma and stop the release of further promotional content with the members. puma funds the genocide of palestinians. we, as fans of nct 127, do not want the members associated with a business that supports an apartheid state…
— chy ◕‿◕ | Taeyong Shalala Loewe (@tyongbao) October 28, 2023
According to the BDS Movement — a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice, and equality — Puma is implicated in violations of international law and human rights due to its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA). This association reportedly includes teams in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Moreover, it is claimed that Puma’s current and past exclusive licensees in Israel have operations in illegal Israeli settlements. Over 200 Palestinian sports clubs have reportedly called on Puma to end the sponsorship deal and stop supporting Israel’s illegal land grabs. These allegations have distressed NCT 127 fans, who are now worried about their favorite idols being associated with a brand embroiled in such controversies.
The situation worsened when Puma’s official social media account started hiding hundreds of tweets asking for the termination of the contract and mentioning Palestine as the reason behind their requests. This move has added fuel to the fire, exacerbating the anger among fans.
They have taken the initiative to ask SM Entertainment and NCT 127 to terminate the contract and have spammed Puma’s social media engagements with their requests.
— Chair🍒🦋 (@butterflyutsie) October 28, 2023
unbelievable that they are hiding replies from fans requesting for 127's contract with puma to be terminated as this brand funds the genocide of palestinians https://t.co/PClRWDzLG1
— ًً (@jsuhsource) October 28, 2023
shame on you for actively hiding replies that call for 127's contract termination. remember that puma funds the genocide in palestine. boycott puma. do not support and buy their products. https://t.co/K8FxNQaQkM
— 🍮📚 slow (@taeilsuperior) October 28, 2023
hiding almost hundreds of fan's replies calling out for the termination of 127's contract is such a disgusting move, as expected from stupid ass puma. blood is on your hands @pumakorea, you're going straight to hell with israel. https://t.co/46gqfjj4XO
— 🐝 (@yunotized) October 28, 2023
The uproar puts both NCT 127 and Puma in a tight spot, drawing widespread attention to the political implications of brand endorsements. . It also reflects a growing consciousness among fans who are unwilling to turn a blind eye to the socio-political stances of the brands associated with their beloved idols. As the saga unfolds, it remains to be seen how SM Entertainment, NCT 127, and Puma will address the fans’ concerns and the broader geopolitical issues at play.