Newscaster Sam Rubin has issued an apology for igniting controversy by praising an American K-pop band member’s English skills.
Rubin, who works for KTLA, posted a statement on Facebook saying he was sorry for telling an NCT 127 member, Johnny, that he spoke “phenomenal” English in a segment last Wednesday.
Johnny shot back during the interview, “I’m from Chicago.”
In his statement, Rubin said that ahead of the show, NCT’s management team requested to see the questions because, he says they told him, “the band does not speak good English.”
“So I did not know one of the members of the band was from Chicago and spoke perfect English,” Rubin wrote. “Based on the information provided by the Band’s own management team, I was led to believe they did not speak English very well. This was my error not to do additional research and I am sorry and apologize if any fans were offended.”
Rubin had also been criticized for asking the band members their thoughts on fellow K-pop group BTS and its success in the U.S. The question prompted some on the internet to say that the newscaster had lumped the bands together or unnecessarily compared the two groups.
Rubin said in his post that BTS had appeared on KTLA before the group became the hit it is today.
“The idea of suggesting that NCT127 may enjoy similar if not greater success than BTS, is not meant to insult NCT127, rather to praise them. To congratulate them,” he said. “I do not believe they were at all hurt or insulted by the mention of BTS. I know and respect that they are a different group with their own sound and personality. But they also fall under the umbrella term of K-POP, which is widely used here in America.”
Many NCT127 fans seemed to be receptive to Rubin’s apology, even while critiquing parts of his message.