(NEW YORK) — Psy, the South Korean rapper behind the international phenomenon “Gangnam Style,” apologized Friday for a 2004 performance in which he said American soldiers should be killed “slowly and painfully,” saying he’s “forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words.”
At the Seoul concert, which took place at the height of the Iraq war, Psy sang:
Kill those f**king Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those f**king Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully
The concert was held on the heels of the decapitation of a Korean missionary by Islamic militants in Iraq, which fueled anti-U.S. military sentiment in South Korea. In 2002, an American military vehicle struck and killed two 13-year-old Korean girls. The soldiers involved in the incident were later acquitted of negligent homicide.
Here’s the apology Psy released through his publicist Friday, in full:
“As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world.”
“The song in question — from eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words.”
“I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months — including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them — and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it’s important we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology.”
Psy is scheduled to close out TNT’s annual Christmas in Washington special this month, an event traditionally attended by the president and the first lady. At last year’s concert, President Obama’s daughters sang on stage with Justin Bieber. The show is being taped this Sunday.
TNT did not respond to inquiries about whether Psy will still participate in the special. White House aides would not confirm the president’s attendance.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN
Sara Stewart, CNN