Backlash as K-pop star Jaejoong claims to have coronavirus as April Fools’ Day 'prank'

1 April 2020, 14:54

The K-pop star made the remark as an 'April Fool' prank
The K-pop star made the remark as an 'April Fool' prank. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

A K-pop star has confessed that his claim of a coronavirus diagnosis was fake and all a part of a twisted April Fool's Day prank.

Jaejoong, real name Kim Jae-joong, has faced mass online outrage from fans, as the Covid-19 pandemic spreads across the globe.

The South Korean songwriter, 34, posted on social media that he was "infected with the Corona 19 virus" and "in hospital" before quickly deleting the post.

He claimed he had tested positive for Covid-19 after "ignoring" government guidance.

But when revealing it was a prank in a follow-up Instagram post, the Korean star claimed his intention was to raise awareness about the disease.

In his initial post he wrote: “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.

“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.”

Worry grew for the JYJ member and his label C-Jes Entertainment told South Korean media that they were “looking into” it, but less than an hour after his original post, Jaejoong admitted it had been a prank..

Editing the caption on his original, now-deleted post on Instagram, Jaejoong wrote: “To have someone you love or someone precious to you be infected with a virus? It is a heartbreaking thing.

“Despite that fact, there are so many people who are still roaming the streets, acting as if it won’t ever happen to them; many people are worried that their family and loved ones may fall ill because of such people.

“Mistakenly thinking that you and the people around you will remain safe can do a lot of damage. Many of my acquaintances and staff are also seeing their loved ones testing positive for the virus. This is not a faraway story.”

“I do not think that you can end with just tears when sorrow caused by carelessness becomes reality. Let’s maintain the current alertness..

“This prank was much too out of hand for a simple April Fool’s joke, but many people worried for me in a short period of time.

“This is definitely not something that only happens to other people! I wanted to tell everyone that protecting yourself is also the solution to protecting others.

“I will receive all punishment that I am due for this post. I hope you will all stay healthy.”