K-Pop Group Called out Over Name's Racist and NSFW Alternate Meanings

The new K-Pop group ABO was called out on social media because its name is a racial slur against Aboriginal Australians. Other social media users noted that ABO is also an abbreviation for erotic fan fiction. The group's name stands for "At the Beginning of Originality," according to IST Entertainment.

The group was announced at the end of the May 7 finale of the singing competition The Origin – A, B, Or What? and will include seven of the show's ten finalists. Jeong Seunghwan, Oh Junseok, Seok Rakwon, Ryu Junmin, Bae Hyunjun, Yang Donghwa, and Kim Yeonkyu will join the group, reports Soompi. IST Entertainment is the same talent agency behind the girl group Apink and boy band The Boyz. The first ABO recordings will be released later this year, according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

After the name was announced, those outside South Korea pointed out how awful the name is. In Australia, "Abo" is an offensive name used as a reference to Aboriginal Australians. It has been compared to the "N-word" in the U.S. and there has been outrage when public figures use it. As recently as Monday, Australian broadcaster Channel Nine said it would report MP Mark Latham, a member of the NSW One Nation party, for tweeting the slur during a televised debate between party leaders. The debate was moderated by journalist Sarah Abo. Latham later told the Daily Telegraph his tweet was misinterpreted by the "outrage industry."

"The tweet from Mark Latham last night is a disgrace, racist, and totally unacceptable," Channel Nine executive Darren Wick said in a statement to News.Com.Au. "Sarah Abo is an outstanding journalist and handled the robust nature of a debate of this scale with intelligence, calmness, and professionalism. That can't be said for Mr. Latham's tweet. We will be reporting his comments to authorities."

Other social media users pointed out that ABO also has a very NSFW meaning. It is an abbreviation for a controversial genre of erotic fanfiction online. "Are entertainment companies freaking ignorant or what? How hard is it to do a simple search before naming a group? ABO?" one Twitter user wrote. "1. It's a slur and 2. A fanfic genre, which 10/10 times involves [sex]. They're going to be laughing stocks for as long as they carry that name."

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"There's a new K-pop boy group about to debut whose name is ABO... what an unfortunate name to have LMAOO," one Twitter user wrote. "All the Aussies immediately cringing at the name because we know it's a slur. Not the best name," another person commented.