Jay Park kpop artist poses for photo op.
(Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)

Jay Park Controversy Explained

Jay Park is one of the biggest soloists in the K-pop industry right now, but his path to stardom wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

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Jay Park is one of the most recognizable names in the K-R&B and K-Hip-Hop scenes, with a successful discography and several entertainment agencies under his belt. From his start as a K-pop idol with 2PM, he fought tooth and nail for another shot in the South Korean music scene.

And while his efforts proved fruitful, it wasn’t without its fair share of scandals. Despite his success, Jay Park is one of the most controversial figures in the K-pop industry due to his past bigoted remarks and, most recently, his OnlyFans launch.

Jay Park gets kicked out of 2PM for scandalous MySpace messages

Jay Park made his entertainment debut as a contestant on Mnet’s Hot Blood Men in 2008, where he competed to debut in one of JYP Entertainment’s new groups. He finished the show with the most fan votes and was appointed the leader of 2PM. He debuted with the group in September 2008 with the song “10 Out Of 10.”

However, his stint with the group would not last long. In September 2009, past negative comments about Korea were uncovered on Jay Park’s MySpace account. The comments, which were made from 2005 to 2007, featured messages such as “Korea is gay … I hate Koreans” and “Korea is whack.”

The texts were soon translated into Korean and spread by media outlets, sparking immense backlash against Park, who is American. He issued an official apology, expressing remorse over his statements and explaining that the comments were made while he was facing a difficult time training in South Korea, away from his friends and family in the United States.

Despite his apology, the backlash did not die down. People demanded Jay Park be removed from 2PM. Despite then-JYP Entertainment CEO Park Jin Young stating he would remain a member of the group, Jay Park announced he would be leaving the group to calm the situation. He apologized to his 2PM members and expressed his resolve to come back “a better person.”

That same year, he returned to his hometown, Seattle, Washington. In February 2010, his contract with JYP Entertainment had been terminated.

Jay Park makes his solo debut & launches own agencies

Though he had returned to the United States, his music dream was still alive. In 2010, Park launched his own YouTube channel, “jayparkaom,” and released a cover of B.o.B and Bruno Mars’ song “Nothin’ on You.” His cover garnered over 2,000,000 views in less than 24 hours. A version of the song featuring Park, where he replaced Bruno Mars’ vocals, was released in South Korea.

With the anger over his past statements having died down, he was finally able to return to the country. He signed with SidusHQ in July 2010 and re-debuted as a rookie artist with the EP “Count on Me.” That same year, he started working closely with singer and producer Cha Cha Malone, as well as other rappers in the industry. Soon, he became one of the most (if not THE most) popular male solo singers in South Korea.

Three years after his re-debut, Jay Park launched his record label, AOMG, and immediately signed Cha Cha Malone, composer Jun Goon, and singer Gray. Currently, AOMG is one of the most highly regarded companies for hip-hop and R&B artists and houses several top names such as Loco, Meenoi, Hoody, and Yugyeom.

In 2017, Jay Park established his second music label, H1GHR Music. The label was made in collaboration with Cha Cha Malone to bridge the gap between American and Korean artists. Some key artists under the label include Big Naughty, pH-1, and Lilboi.

In 2021, he stepped down as CEO of both AOMG and H1GHR Music and established MORE VISION in 2022. Currently, the most prominent names in the agency include soloist Chungha and female dance crew HolyBang.

Jay Park slammed for cultural appropriation & racist remarks

Sadly, scandal seems to follow Jay Park everywhere he goes.

In 2021, Jay Park was accused of cultural appropriation after he released a remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA.” The song featured several Korean artists rapping about being proud to be Korean. Despite the nationalistic sentiments, it did not take long for people to point out that several rappers involved had braids, dreadlocks, and afros. People accused the rapper of releasing a remix about being proud to be Korean, while the artists were “cosplaying as Black American people” and using their culture for aesthetics.

Jay Park addressed the comments, though it did little to quell people’s anger. In his comment, he stated that even though he might not “necessarily agree” that Korean rappers should have dreads, he is not in the place to tell them not to do that. He also added that having a certain hairstyle or look gives them confidence.

This would not be the last time Jay Park was accused of racism, however.

In 2022, Park was accused of using racial slurs during his set at London’s “MIK Festival 2022.” Some festival-goers claimed Jay Park said the N-word during his performance, though it remained a rumor that Jay Park himself denied.

Jay Park establishes OnlyFans

In June 2024, Jay Park shocked fans by announcing the launch of his OnlyFans. The platform has garnered a reputation for being an avenue for adult sex workers to monetize their content, which added to the shock value of the post.

It did not take long for people to discover that Jay Park made the account to promote his single, “McNasty,” which was released on June 30. While many found his utilization of OnlyFans for marketing genius, others were not as impressed. Many pointed out that if a female idol had done the same to promote her work, it would have immediately caused backlash.

Others pointed out that other groups who embrace a more mature, sexy image such as Kiss of Life are currently being flamed for their concept, while Jay Park is being celebrated for his OnlyFans. They pointed out the double standard women face in K-pop, and how Jay Park’s actions and the reception perfectly showcased it.

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Alexandria Lopez
Alexandria "Alexa" Lopez (She/Her) is a Freelance Writer for TheMarySue.Com. She graduated with a degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications from the University of Asia and the Pacific and has been writing online since 2017. Currently residing in Metro Manila, Alexa has been a fan of K-pop since she was a child, and this is a phase she will likely never outgrow. Besides that, Alexa loves video games, anime, and keeping up her Duolingo streak.