Blackpink’s Jennie ‘regrets’ vaping indoors

Blackpink star Jennie has apologised after a video that showed her vaping indoors sparked a huge outcry in South Korea.

The K-pop star exhaled a puff of smoke – and triggered a barrage of criticism because it blew into the face of her make-up artist.

“Do you need to be educated for all the basic manners?” a popular comment on YouTube reads.

Her label OA Entertainment has apologised to “everyone who felt uncomfortable with Jennie’s actions”, and to her “disappointed” fans. The star has also apologised to staff “who may have been affected”, the label said.

“Jennie acknowledges and deeply regrets her mistake of vaping indoors and causing inconvenience to the staff,” it added.

South Korean celebrities are no strangers to the intense scrutiny. The country holds them to rigid moral and behavioural standards and no misstep goes unnoticed.

The now-deleted moment was part of a video posted on Jennie’s official YouTube channel. It quickly spread through the 10 million-plus subscribers and beyond.

“It’s not about smoking. Blowing smoke in the face of the staff indoors – it’s just rude,” a top YouTube comment on a media outlet’s channel reads.

Another one says: “Even smokers know that you don’t puff on your friends’ face. You only do it when you really don’t care about the people around you.”

Smoking and vaping indoors is banned in South Korea and is punishable by a fine of up to ₩100,000 ($72; £56).

In this case, however, Jennie – whose full name is Jennie Kim – might not have been vaping in South Korea. Some accounts suggest the video was filmed in Italy, which bans vaping in enclosed public spaces. But Jennie’s agency has not clarified where she was at the time.

And yet, one furious South Korean has demanded an investigation from their country’s embassy in Italy and Seoul’s ministry of foreign affairs.

Jennie is not the first South Korean celebrity to face a backlash over smoking.

Doh Kyung-soo, vocalist for the popular K-pop boy band EXO and Haechan, a singer in the band NCT, drew a lot of flak when they were caught smoking indoors. They were fined and they apologised to the public.

Jennie’s international fans have been more forgiving: “Please don’t listen [to] anyone. You are queen and we will support you forever,” a top comment under her most recent Instagram post reads.

“I still love you. We learn from the mistakes we make,” another fan wrote.

Blackpink, formed in 2016, is the world’s biggest K-pop girl group. The four members – Jisoo, Lisa, Jennie and Rosé – have each become celebrities in their own right.

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