In a surprising turn of events on January 10, 2023, ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo delighted fans with updates from a Sketchers event in Malaysia. However, a seemingly innocent Instagram post featuring a Starbucks cup on the table quickly turned controversial, sparking criticism from some of his followers.
The Starbucks Backlash: Navigating Global Brand Controversy
The photo’s backlash stemmed from the ongoing sensitivity surrounding Starbucks and its association with the Middle-East conflict. Internationally, the coffee giant faces a boycott after suing a union of workers who used the company’s logos on a pledge supporting Palestine in the conflict.
Tweeting this again :
We do not ASTRO to associate or promote STARBUCKS, McDonald’s, or any companies that are financing a genocide in Palestine.
Please take note of our concerns.”@fantagiogroup @fantagiomusic_ @offclASTRO @CHAEUNWOO_offcl #ASTRO #아스트로 pic.twitter.com/UizQGGSzXZ
— Ouma(eriroha) 🇹🇳🇵🇸 (@Oums_saadi) January 10, 2024
Despite of Starbucks distancing itself from the political situation, the legal action against its workers fueled discontent. Critics argue that the company, known for projecting a liberal and diverse image and took a controversial stance rather than a standing in solidarity with the oppressed.
(Photo : instagram) ASTRO Cha Eunwoo
Quick Rectification: Cha Eunwoo’s Deleted Photo
Responding swiftly to the criticism, Cha Eunwoo deleted the contentious photo from his carousel post on Instagram, which originally featured four images. The remaining pictures showcased the Sketchers event without any trace of the Starbucks cup, earning praise from fans for his prompt action.
Not Cha Eunwoo w/ the Starbucks cup🙃 pic.twitter.com/YdcpB13Quo
— ✨ (@TokkiBlinkBkjck) January 10, 2024
EUNWOO please do not buying and consume drink from STARBUCKS again, they fund the genocide in Gaza. Please apologize and educate yourself#차은우 #CHAEUNWOO @offclASTRO @CHAEUNWOO_offcl pic.twitter.com/QNmdaK9oci
— faa •kinda iaa (@zyassnh) January 10, 2024
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Idol Scrutiny: Global Awareness Among K-Pop Stars
While Eunwoo received applause for his quick response, the incident sheds light on a broader issue within the K-Pop community. Fans are increasingly scrutinizing idols who align themselves with or consume products from controversial brands, such as Starbucks.
A post shared by instagram
Do you really think that fan requests don’t matter? We asked him to remove the first photo, which showed Starbucks coffee, and he removed it. Nunu, thank you, i love you 💜#CHAEUNWOO pic.twitter.com/t74BbR5FYt
— rockyminhyukisthebestofthebest🇺🇦 (@eunwoo_loveyou) January 10, 2024
Even if the drink in question wasn’t directly purchased by the idol, strict standards persist, with K-Pop stars facing criticism for perceived ignorance of global situations. The incident underscores the delicate balance idols must navigate in their public image and brand affiliations.