Topps Responds To Criticism Over Racially Insensitive BTS “Garbage Pail Kids” Card

Fans aren’t happy with the statement.

Hours after being slammed for its racially insensitive and upsetting portrayal of BTS on a new Garbage Pail Kids card, The Topps Company has issued a statement on the controversy.

When Topps announced its new Garbage Pail Kids “Shammy Awards” collection this week, fans were shocked to see the stark and alarming difference between BTS’s sticker card and the rest of the pack. While artists like Harry Styles were featured in light-hearted scenarios, the violent artwork on the “BTS Bruisers” card featured the members being attacked with a GRAMMYs trophy, sporting stitches and bandages.

| The Topps Company

Not only were BTS unnecessarily singled out on the only card featuring graphic violence, the release of the collection also came in the midst of the rising “Stop Asian Hate” movement. Activism organization Stop AAPI Hate reports the Asian American faced almost 3,800 racially-motivated attacks over the past year, believed to be increasing as a result of xenophobic sentiments surrounding the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Over the past few days, Asian celebrities (including 2NE1‘s CL) have been raising awareness and funds for the victims.

Upon seeing the “BTS Bruisers” card, fans and non-fans alike rallied together to demand answers and apologies from Topps—as well as action from Billboard, who promoted the collection in a recent article. Now, the company has finally responded.

| Big Hit Entertainment

In a statement posted on Twitter, Topps told consumers they “hear and understand” their complaints. After apologizing for including the “BTS Bruisers” artwork, the company went on to say that the BTS sticker card will be removed from the collection. No “Shammy Awards” packs have been printed yet, so the “BTS Bruisers” card will not enter circulation.

We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK [Garbage Pail Kids] “Shammy Awards” product and we apologize for including it. We have removed the BTS sticker card for the set, we have not printed any of the sticker card and it will not be available.

— Topps

However, fans and consumers are not happy with Topps’s statement. Many are confused and disappointed by Topps apologizing to consumers while failing to apologize to BTS and the Asian community at large.

Instead of admitting genuine responsibility and wrongdoing, the statement appears to be focusing on the reaction of consumers.

Fans are also frustrated that Topps provided no clarity on how the artwork was approved for publication and whether artist Chris Meeks or any other Topps staff members will be reprimanded.

Across social media, users are calling for a new statement from Topps with a much better apology and more action taken.