K-Pop Star's Coronavirus April Fools' Day Stunt Backfires

Kim Jaejoong claimed he'd been hospitalised with Covid-19. He later said it was a stunt to raise awareness.

K-Pop star Kim Jaejoong faced a backlash on social media after he reportedly falsely claimed to have been hospitalised in Japan after testing positive for the coronavirus, as part of an April Fools’ Day stunt.

Multiple K-pop websites reported on Wednesday that Jaejoong initially posted on Instagram that he’d been infected “as a result of my negligence, ignoring the cautionary words shared by the government and those around me.”

South Korean singer Kim Jaejoong (aka Jaejoong)
South Korean singer Kim Jaejoong (aka Jaejoong)
VCG via Getty Images

He later edited the caption to claim it was a prank to raise awareness and keep people alert amid the pandemic that has affected almost 10,000 people in his home country South Korea, and killed 165, according to Forbes.

The post has since been deleted.

“A person’s individual actions can have such a big impact on society as a whole. I am so sorry to those who may have been infected because of me,” wrote the 34-year-old singer-songwriter in his initial post.

“My foolish judgment to live as though it couldn’t happen to me is why I am like this today. I am currently hospitalized. I am reflecting on my past a lot and feeling both grateful and sorry [sic]” he added.

Forbes reports that Jaejoong later edited the caption after his representatives announced they were attempting to check on his status. Jaejoong is currently in Japan. He appeared to confirm in the updated post he’d not been diagnosed with the virus and instead had wanted to use the post to raise awareness about the importance of social distancing measures.

According to Soompi, which bills itself as “the world’s largest and longest-running English online media providing complete coverage of Korean pop culture,” he wrote in the updated post that has since been taken down:

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.


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