South Korean rapper Psy has apologized for participating in anti-American protests several years ago.
The "Gangnam Style" rapper issued a statement Friday after news reports surfaced that he participated in two concerts protesting the U.S. military presence in South Korea during the early stages of the war in Iraq. The reports said that at a 2004 concert, the 34-year-old rapped about killing "Yankees" who have been torturing Iraqi captives and their families."
In the statement, obtained by MTV News, Psy (whose real name is Park Jae-sang) said:
"As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I featured on in question from eight years ago -- was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. While I'm grateful for the freedom to express one's self, I've learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I'm deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words. "I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months -- including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them -- and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it's important that we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music, I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that thru music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology."
Psy's inescapable hit went viral in the U.S. and holds the YouTube record for most watched video.
He is scheduled to perform for President Barack Obama at the "Christmas in Washington" concert on Sunday. A petition was started on the White House website calling for the rapper's invitation to be rescinded, but it was removed for violating the site's terms of participation. A White House spokesman told the Associated Press on Friday that Mr. Obama and his family will attend the event, as is custom. The concert is set to air on TNT on Dec. 21.