K-pop fans slam IST Entertainment as boy group ABO is named after a racial slur for Aboriginals

K-pop fans slam IST Entertainment as boy group ABO is named after a racial slur for Aboriginals
After the IST Entertainment survival show announced the name of their upcoming boy group, fans were quick to point out it came from a racist slur (IST Entertainment; Twitter)

With more and more K-pop groups debuting ever-so-often, there has been a need for unique and catchy group names that fans can love and enjoy while they support the groups. Over the last few months, fans have seen groups named TAN, Le Sserafim, YOUNITE, TNX, TRENDZ among many others. With such complicated names of the group, fans have found it interesting to find out the meanings behind how the group got its title. Over the years, K-pop fans have also never been shy to call out the idols if they were ever found doing something that offended another person or race.

From recent instances where Enhypen’s Heesung or aespa’s Giselle were called out for using the N-word, which is a racial slur, or second gen’s BoA being slammed for talking about dark-colored skin in an unfavorable tone, K-pop fans are starting to hold idols and K-pop labels accountable for their misinformed choices which seems like progress to many. The IST Entertainment variety show, ‘The Origin: A, B or What?’ finally came to an end on May 7 this year. As the seven members of the group were revealed at the end of the show, the members of the group, as well as fans, expressed their concern about the name of the group.


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The seven members of the boy group from IST Entertainment's survival show, 'The Origin: A, B or What' that will be debuting in the months to come (IST Entertainment)

Fans concerned about the group name ABO

As soon as the hosts on the show, ‘The Origin: A, B or What?’ revealed the name of the upcoming boy group to be ABØ (aka ABO) which is an acronym for the word, ‘At the Beginning of Originality’, many K-pop fans began pointing out that IST Entertainment was being insensitive towards the Native Australians. The word ‘abo’ is slang to refer to an Aboriginal person which is why fans of K-pop feel that the genre is being racist for naming a boy group in this day and age with an obvious slang word. Fans are pointing out that even though the group name is an acronym and will be spelled out as letters, there is a chance that the name could be clubbed into a word in the future which could lead to a lot of controversy for the future of the boys.

One fan said, “Abo is literally a slur towards aboriginal Australians change the name tf.” One more fan pointed out, “I understand the issue with abo being a slur but if you read it and first thing you think is that alfa beta omega thing maybe YOU are the problem…” One fan explained, “The term of the group name “ABO” has been recognized as a slur against indigenous Australian people since early 20th century. This can effect indigenous Australian people if you use “ABO” as the debut group name and make profit out of their pain.” One user said, “They are trademarking a slur.” One more fan added, “Abo and that’s a slur against indigenous australian people. like why can’t their team do more research on stuff like this…”

One more fan explained, “Abo is the australian equivalent of the n word and is still very offensive. i'm seeing a lot of people say that because majority of the world are not aware of this slur, that it should be overlooked and bypassed. abo is still a slur, guys!!!! a very very offensive slur!!!!! it may not be relevant to your country or culture but there are still a good chunk of people in this world that will be deeply offended by it. please respect lesser known cultures.” Another fan said, “ABO IS A SLUR CHANGE THE NAME OF YOUR FUTURE BOYGROUP THE WORLD IS BEGGING YOU.”









‘No one says that in the first place’

Some fans rose in defense and explained that using the letters A B and O as an acronym is not a slur and the name of the group is inspired by the title of the survival show the boys come from. One fan said, “Everyone is freaking out of ABO being the debut name but it’s said as it’s spelled (aye-bee-oh meaning they say each letter instead of it as a word) because it’s an acronym for something else. it may be spelled like a slur but it’s not and it’s not said in the same pronunciation.”

One more fan said, “It's not a slur... because it's the union of A, B and the Or of Or What. Please. Don't spread false news! The pronunciation is also different and, if you have watched the episode, you have listened the meaning.” Another fan said, “It is not no damn slur… abo short for aboriginal no one says that s**t in the first place.”




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