Apr 1, 2020

    This K-Pop Star Said He Tested Positive For COVID-19 — But It Was An April Fools' Prank

    "I will accept all punishment I receive from this post," the JYJ member said in a now-deleted Instagram post.

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    On Wednesday, K-pop star Kim Jaejoong posted to 1.9 million followers on Instagram that he had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

    Visual China Group / Getty Images

    According to K-pop news site Soompi, the JYJ member said his infection "was a result of [his] negligence, ignoring the cautionary words shared by the government".

    He went on to say that he was in hospital with the disease, and his agency, C-JeS Entertainment, said it was trying to confirm the news.

    "My foolish judgment to live as though it couldn’t happen to me is why I am like this today. I am currently hospitalised," he said. "I am reflecting on my past a lot and feeling both grateful and sorry."

    However, less than an hour later, Kim had edited the caption to clarify that he didn't actually have COVID-19, and the post had been an April Fools' prank intending to raise awareness of the importance of social distancing. The post has since been deleted entirely.

    "So many people walk the streets and live their lives without their guards up, ignoring it… and thinking it won’t happen to them, and it makes me so worried that my family and friends might get sick," he wrote in the edited caption.

    Han Myung-gu / WireImage

    "Believing that we and the people around us will be safe will end up making us and everything around us sick," Kim said. "Currently, a growing number of my acquaintances and industry representatives are being tested positive. It is not something that is far away."

    He continued: "Staying on alert right now... That is what I say to myself again and again."

    Kim went on to say that while the post wasn't meant to be a joke, it had gone "quite far".

    And it's safe to say fans agreed, with many calling the prank "disrespectful" and "insensitive".

    #jaejoong wtf making a joke about corona virus wow how disrespectful

    Sorry Jaejoong but you are cancelled. That's too insensitive. Imagine your fans are worried shit about your health and there you are fooling around in the middle of crisis 💆🏻‍♀️ JOKES ARE MEANT TO BE FUNNY DUDE https://t.co/xC7Id2uT9I

    What Jaejoong did was immature and insensitive. I know he wanted to raise awareness, but there were 1000 other possible ways to do it. I will continue following him tho, it's like he hurt someone. But please Jaej, next time think more before posting something like that.

    Others said they were "disappointed" in the idol.

    The more I think about it, the more I am just so damn disappointed in Jaejoong. In his new post, he talks about how people around him are testing positive and how worried he is. How dare he think himself justified to inflict that same kind of fear and terror in us?

    However, some said it was good that he was spreading awareness about the importance of staying home and being vigilant during this pandemic.

    I'm a nurse currently looking after a COVID-19 patient. I'm not upset with Jaejoong, he knows it's not a joking matter. Here we are talking about it. Some people don't care until someone they care about is affected. We don't have that time. We have to act now. No time for SJWs.

    "I wanted to tell you that protecting myself is protecting the precious people around us," Kim said in the edited caption, before deleting the post entirely. "I will accept all punishment I receive from this post. I hope all of you are healthy."

    VCG / Getty Images

    Below is the full translation of Kim's edited Instagram caption, according to Soompi:

    What if the people we love, someone precious to us, contracted the virus?

    It’s such a heart-wrenching thing to think about.

    Despite this, so many people walk the streets and live their lives without their guards up, ignoring it… and thinking it won’t happen to them, and it makes me so worried that my family and friends might get sick. Believing that we and the people around us will be safe will end up making us and everything around us sick.

    Currently, a growing number of my acquaintances and industry representatives are being tested positive. It is not something that is far away.

    When negligence turns a sad premonition into reality, it’s not something that we can simply end by wiping our tears away.

    Staying on alert right now.. That is what I say to myself again and again.

    Although this did go quite far for April Fool’s Day, so many people worried about me in a short span of time.

    Oh… and I don’t think of this as an April Fool’s joke. My family and my friends are getting sick.. and dying.. It’s never!! just someone else’s problem. I wanted to tell you that protecting myself is protecting the precious people around us.

    I will accept all punishment I receive from this post. I hope all of you are healthy.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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