Here’s everything you need to know about Bella Poarch’s tattoo controversy called racist by many.
Jumping real high real quick on TikTok has been a really common practice these days, and Bella Poarch, though not affiliated with any of the so-called content houses, isn’t a strange, but still an exceptional, one. But like that norm, backlashes for their activities, intentional or not, is always around for anything that they do.
Many of these backlashes are ones people take little hurt with, and a simple apology would work. No matter how many times the creators apologize, however, there are a few ones no one is ever trying to forget, especially when it comes to racism. Although, people tend to mull over things too much, when they don’t need to.
Poarch has got herself caught in one such, and it seems the Koreans are not willing to let go. She’s apologized many times, and though she wants people to know what she did wrong and learn about it, it hasn’t been enough for some. Still, there are two sides to it as well.
Bella Poarch’s Backlash Was Over a Tattoo of Depiction of the Rising Sun She Didn’t Know Had a Racist History
Bella Poarch loves tattoos, and in early September, she posted a dance on TikTok, now removed, revealing a tattoo on her arm she got back in March that depicted the rays of the Rising Sun, with the sun replaced by a literal heart, not the symbol ♥. Rising Sun is the flag the Japanese used in WWII while colonizing the Korean peninsula.
It’s the first of her apologies.
Photo Source: Bella Poarch, TikTok
There was an immediate flow of backlashes from South Korean & South Korean-American users on the platform informing her of the meaning the flag holds for the Koreans. She was quick to respond to the racist accusations as she said she didn’t know the history behind the Rising Sun symbol when she got the permanent tattoo.
The video was removed from TikTok, and she uploaded another one showing the tattoo (snapshot above), writing, “Here is a photo of my arm tattoo. I love Korea🥺😭 I would never do anything to hurt anyone.” This one has over 2 million likes already.
Poarch Repeatedly Apologized for Not Learning the Meaning of the Symbol and Even Pinned One to the Top of Her Twitter Feed
With countless comments criticizing her even in the subsequent TikTok clips and Instagram posts she made, Poarch was pushed back into the corner to make apology posts, besides even the one with the tattoo. But regardless, it seems she would’ve apologized even if only a few of them had pointed it out.
She does really love tattoos.
Photo Source: Bella Poarch, Instagram
The Filipino, in response, made more than one Twitter post to apologize for her involuntary insensitivity. “I live in Hawaii and I see a lot of people using the red rising sun symbol in clothing, cars and jewelry,” Poarch wrote on Twitter with a point. “Please educate yourselves and learn more about it because it came from a terrible history. It is very offensive to a lot of people. Please learn from my mistake.”
The 19-year-old pinned this one on top of her Twitter feed, “I apologize to Koreans, because six months ago I got a tattoo of the red sun with 16 rays. At that time, I didn’t know the history, but when I found out, I immediately scheduled it for removal.”
I apologize to Koreans because 6 months ago I got a tattoo of the red sun with 16 rays. At that time, I didn’t know the history. But when I found out, I immediately had it covered and scheduled for removal. I am ashamed of myself for not doing my research. I sincerely apologize.
— Bella Poarch (@bellapoarch) September 6, 2020
Yes, although permanent, she’s vowed to remove the tattoo as soon as possible, although it will take time for it to completely fade away. For the time it remains, she says she’ll cover it up with clothing and whatnot.
She Recently Responded in the TikTok Comments, Promising to Educate Others About the History
As is obvious, many still believe she got away with an “awful” apology, as it seems to be a trend among fans, and want more from her. As if her words weren’t sincere enough. One suggested she should apologize on TikTok, which she did, to make the Koreans stop pressing her to apologize more.
In her recent posts as well, IG and TikTok, critiques come now and then to do their thing. But she still responds to them, at least on TikTok, expressing that people had to be educated to let them realize the fact. Her Filipino friends didn’t know about it.
She was born in the Philippines and now resides in Hawaii.
Photo Source: Bella Poarch, Instagram
“I will have the tattoo removed or do cover up,” she wrote in a series of comments on her TikTok clips. “I did not know the history behind this tattoo and I will educate others about it.”
“My Filipino friends also said they didn’t know about it until I told them. So it’s better if we just educate people instead of arguing,” she replied to her own comment.
She also gave the reason as to why she got the tattoo on her arm in the first place, when one criticizer sharply wrote, “I’m sorry but I find it funny that someone accidentally tattooed the Japanese imperialist flag onto their arm.”
Again, not everyone knows about everything. “I was inspired by my favorite singer [Jhené Aiko],” she responded to that comment. “She has the same tattoo in her back. But I was never educated about the history of it. I also see it in anime/tv.”
What Is That History, Really? What Does Bella Poarch’s Tattoo Mean?
It is understandable how one, including any celebrity who is expected to be politically correct every single time, would not know about such a thing. But the expectation by the fans from Poarch here is possibly due to her military background. She may not look like it, but Poarch served in the US Navy in the past.
How long she served for the US Navy is yet to be known.
Photo Source: Bella Poarch, Instagram
Since she is of the military (formerly), fans may have expected her to know about the Rising Sun. It was used as a flag by the Japanese imperialist army before and during the Second World War. It includes the time when the army attacked and invaded the Korean peninsula and areas around it.
According to BBC, a parliamentary committee for sports of South Korea describes the rising sun flag as “akin to a symbol of the devil to Asians and Koreans, just like the swastika is a symbol of Nazis which reminds European of invasion of horror.”
South Korea is not the only one that wants the flag banned (although surprisingly not China), but not much has been able to come off of it. So yeah, not everyone knows about it, not even someone in the military.
The Unsatisfied Comments Were Met with Backlashes from Fans Who’ve Had Enough of It
As you can imagine, a lot of the critiques were satisfied with her acknowledgment of the situation. But quite a lot of them weren’t on the same page. Even now, they are asking for more. [It’s important to note she didn’t have the sun but only the rays on that tattoo.]
It seems Aiko later covered the Rising Sun tattoo as well.
Photo Sources: Pinterest
One comment on her most recent IG post wrote, “post a proper apology for getting a tattoo of the imperial japan flag. it could be an honest “mistake” but your apology was still poor and didn’t educate those who don’t know on why it’s wrong and what it means. you made a public mistake you need to make a public apology that isn’t just “uwu sorry🥺💕”. it ain’t enough.”
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Similar comments were abundant, but these were met with a reverse backlash as fans took her support, telling the demanders to move on with it. A few of the South Koreans have also acknowledged her apologies, in turn feeling sorry for the ones who’ve not moved on.
I am Korean. But it's okay.I understand you don't know much about the Rising Sun Flag.Most countries don't teach about the Rising Sun Flag. I felt rather sorry for some Koreans saying too much. I hope you don't get hurt.😂
— 감튀먹튀 (@pIwDdiS5LG4u4LV) September 10, 2020
As with any influencer, like ANY, controversies are a recurring thing people won’t let go. And she’s got caught in another one within a month already. She’s cleared out the aspects of the other controversy, involving a friend of color from the military. There will still be her fans though.
Bella Poarch’s fame on TikTok came in probably the shortest amount of time possible. Her video in mid-August (Aug. 28, 2020), a lip-sync to M to the B by Millie B, broke the record for the most likes on TikTok and the first one to cross 30 million likes. She now has almost 34 million likes, at the time of writing. And to that effect, her follower count skyrocketed to the current number of 23 million in less than a month.
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