December 05, 2023

Girls, Interrupted: North Korean band’s Beijing no-show

Whatever its cause, this debacle shows Kim Jong Un as diplomatically inept

It’s not been a good week for Korean girl bands. On two continents, ensembles from North and South found themselves prevented from performing – if in very different circumstances. Oh My Girl are one of many formulaic South Korean girl groups. Eight pretty girls, they sing and dance: yawn. Last week they flew to Los Angeles for a promotional gala – but never got out of the airport. After being held for 15 hours, they headed right back across the Pacific.

What went wrong? The story which hit headlines was that all their props and costumes led U.S. border agents to suspect their real purpose to be, erm, more horizontal forms of entertainment. But the banal truth may simply be that they lacked work visas, reckoning that a promotional event didn’t require those. Either way, somebody boobed. Frankly, who gives a hoot?