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Korea’s biggest TV network won’t air “Gentleman” … because Psy kicks a traffic cone

Unfit for airtime.
  • Gwynn Guilford
By Gwynn Guilford


South KoreaPublished This article is more than 2 years old.

Making someone fall off a treadmill is fine. But kicking a traffic cone? That might “disturb basic public order.” Or at least that’s why South Korea’s national, publicly funded TV network, Korean Broadcasting System, is banning “Gentleman,” the latest music video by pop sensation Psy from its airwaves.

The kick at issue occurs five seconds into the video, when Psy wails on a traffic cone labeled “no parking.” That, says the country’s biggest network, necessitated the ban, since “children haven’t fully developed a standard for judgment and tend to believe and follow what’s shown on television,” as the Wall Street Journal reports. The WSJ notes that KBS tends to be a pretty strict enforcer of public morality, and has in the past pulled videos that show, for instance, a seatbelt-less driver.

However, the occasional cone-punting might seem less likely to disturb public order than any number of the pranks Psy pulls on unsuspecting women in the video. Undoing women’s bikinis, the old “smell my finger” trick, pulling chairs out from under people—Psy runs through the repertoire of junior high-level mischief, before meeting his match in K-pop luminary Ga-In, a member of the band Brown Eyed Girls.

The network’s ban comes just as Korea’s new president, Park Geun-Hye, praised Psy for paying for the rights to use dance moves originally popularized by Brown Eyed Girls, a K-pop band whose lead singer features heavily in “Gentleman.” This, said, Park, exemplified the sort of respect for intellectual property that was necessary to encourage creativity and innovation.

That copyright-protected dance move is looking more and more like a good investment: “Gentleman” shattered YouTube view records when it debuted a few days ago and has already notched 144 million views. But unfortunately for Korean social order, that means that traffic cones are probably increasingly less safe.

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