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Lee Hyori and YoonA slammed over karaoke outing, apologize for breaking social distancing norms

Fans of the KPop stars camed to their defense, saying 'It's not a crime going to the karaoke place which follow the rules of taking temperature and wearing mask before going in'
Lee Hyori and YoonA (Getty Images)
Lee Hyori and YoonA (Getty Images)

Lee Hyori And YoonA apologized following criticisms raised against their latest Instagram live, which saw the two K-pop idols hanging out at a private karaoke room during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, despite South Korea having relaxed its social distancing laws a while back.

Hyori, frequently referred to as the 'Nation's Fairy', has returned to the limelight recently following her collaborative project with fellow idol Rain and comedian Yoo Jae-suk, the co-ed group SSAK3. Prior to that, the idol followed her 2017 release 'Black' with the reality shows 'Hyori's Homestay', which included the singer's husband. Lee Sang-soon, and 'Camping Club'. During Season 2 of 'Hyori's Homestay', which aired in 2018, Girls' Generation's YoonA featured as a guest, and fans were quickly smitten with the friendship she and Hyori shared.

The two friends caught up again recently for a karaoke outing on July 1, during which Hyori chose to go live on Instagram. But instead of the warm response that many would have expected, the two saw a stream of criticisms in the comments about them disobeying social distancing rules. While South Korea has increasingly relaxed its lockdown in recent weeks, celebrities have found themselves being held to a very high standard as many expect them to set an example of good practices to follow during the pandemic. Particularly, celebrities visiting crowded places, such as bars or clubs, have been heavily criticized for failing to be more conscientious and by extensive being disrespectful towards the frontline workers who continue to battle Covid-19 and keep it from spreading further.

Lee Hyo-Ri attends the Calvin Klein Collection Hosts a special one-night exhibition entitled "Infinite Loop" organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art at the Seoul Railway Station on May 24, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea (Getty Images)

During the live, the two idols were visibly confused by the comments, with Hyori questioning, "Are we not supposed to go to karaoke?" YoonA, on the other hand, assured the viewers that they "came wearing masks." But both have now offered apologies for their actions.

The morning after their live, Hyori shared on her Instagram, "Hello, this is Lee Hyori. I am currently deeply reflecting on the fact that my behavior last night was not appropriate for a time when I should still have been exercising caution. I’ve been too excited these days, so I was not able to think deeply about my actions. As an unnie [older sister/friend], I also feel sorry to YoonA. In the future, I will be more careful and behave more cautiously. Once again, I would like to apologize." YoonA soon followed suit, sharing a handwritten letter that read, "Hello, this is Lim YoonA. First of all, I am sincerely reflecting on myself for causing concern due to my careless action.. I apologize.." She continued, "My thoughts and judgment were poor during this period when everyone is having a hard time and should be careful. I will put in much effort to act more cautiously from now on. I am deeply reflecting for not being attentive of the medical professionals and people of the nation who continue to work hard for Covid-19. I once again apologize for causing concern to everyone..."

While the apology might soothe things over within the South Korean netizens who were upset by their actions, it has caused the larger K-pop fandom communities to respond in defense of the two idols. "Koreans are literally going out every single day, meeting up with new groups of friends every single day, going to crowded public spaces every single day....and yet idols have to apologize when they're meeting up with one friend," commented one fan, adding, "The hypocrisy."

Another agreed, stating, "Honestly, it's so true. There are even Koreans going out to see a movie since their country isn't on a hard lockdown unlike others. I'm pretty sure Hyori and YoonA wore masks on the way, disinfected themselves, etc. It's easy to judge harshly based on something they can see. An Instagram live doesn't show everyone the whole side of the story."

Actress Yoona arrives for the Marie Claire Asia Star Award 2019 during the day two of the 24th Busan International Film Festival on October 4, 2019, in Busan, South Korea (Getty Images)

One fan stated, "This should not have been a major issue since it was only two of them in the karaoke room. If there were multiple people, then they should take caution. And they obviously wore masks before entering the karaoke place. So, why is this an issue?" while another comment read, "Kmedia being trash as always. It's not a crime going to the karaoke place which follow the rules of taking temperature and wearing mask before going in. Just because they are celebrities so they are to hold much liability than knetz who's also going there?" Another fan pointed out, "Plus they open the mask in the room itself and not outside. And only two of them in the room anyway. Shame kmedia. Trash as always," adding, "Still don't think Yoona and Hyori need to apologize but they are the kind one anyway."

Fans who awaited the reunion of these two friends for a while were disappointed by the backlash, stating, "Yoona and queen Hyori finally reunited and this is what yall do to them?? knets make ur way to the exit pls." Others questioned why they were being criticized at all, asking, "If they are not advised to go Karaoke, why are these places opened in the first place???!! So done with these knetz." And some declared, "Yoona and Hyori doesn’t even have to apologize!"