LE SSERAFIM debuted on May 2, 2022, but even before their debut, they had gained interest by having former IZ*ONE members Chaewon and Sakura, and former popular Produce 48 contestant Yunjin in the group’s line-up.
Even before Produce 48 and IZ*ONE, Sakura had a very successful career as a member of the Japanese idol group HKT48. Because of her popularity in Japan, she and fellow Japanese LE SSERAFIM member Kazuha were invited to be interviewed via video call on the Japanese variety show NTV‘s Zero Ichi on May 20, a little over two weeks after their debut.
After their May interview, Sakura and Kazuha were able to join the cast of Zero Ichi in-person for an appearance in July of this year. This appearance is currently resurfacing after the LE SSERAFIM members were reportedly asked an inappropriate question on the show.
A popular Korean forum recently reposted a video from two months ago that reported on the incident.
Reportedly, one of the MCs on the show asked Sakura and Kazuha, “How much does it cost to stay at a luxury hotel for a night?” While the answer itself was a little odd, it wasn’t immediately alarming as celebrities often get to stay in higher-end hotels. The members seemed confused but answered that they didn’t know what it would cost.
The MC’s reported response was what alarmed netizens as it was said the MC replied, “You probably went there with your boyfriend. Why are you pretending like you don’t know?”
According to the report, the MC then allegedly taunted and sexually harassed them for pretending not to know.
The question came under fire for being inappropriate considering how controversial the topic of idol dating can be in K-Pop. Netizens also felt that the members were being treated more like J-Pop idols than K-Pop idols, and said that even if it was meant to be a joke, it was in poor taste.
Netizens also called out the fact that Kazuha was only 18 years old at the time, making an already inappropriate question even more uncomfortable.
With two Japanese members, the group is sure to continue actively promoting in Japan. The rising interest in the forum discussing the issue, which now has over 125,000 views, will hopefully bring about changes for their next overseas variety show appearance.