• Blackpink visited an amusement park in South Korea and interacted with pandas on their reality show
  • Blackpink was criticized for touching and hugging a baby panda while wearing makeup
  • Fans came to Blackpink's defense, saying the zoo should be blamed for any violations

South Korean girl band Blackpink has drawn controversy after a video from their reality showed the K-pop stars holding and touching a baby panda.

For the final episode of their reality show "24/365 with Blackpink," Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé visited the Everland amusement park in South Korea and got the chance to interact with a giant panda named Huani and her baby, Fubao. In the finale episode teaser, the girls can be seen touching and even embracing the 3-month-old baby panda.

Despite the fact that the members of Blackpink were supervised by zookeepers, Chinese netizens criticized the K-pop stars for violating regulations and touching the pandas while wearing makeup, alleging that the cosmetics will "endanger" the lives of the gentle creatures. The Blackpink members were also slammed for not wearing masks and gloves at times while handling the pandas.

A panda expert said that people who own dogs could also pose a risk to the creatures. (Jennie, Jisoo, and Rosé have pet dogs, while Lisa has several cats.)

"Especially those who keep a dog at home, they are dangerous for pandas. There is a risk of spreading canine distemper," Diao Kunpeng, director of Beijing Qingye Ecology, told Chinese newspaper Global Times on Thursday.

"All the people in this incident have a responsibility, including Black Pink, producers of the show and keepers of Huani and Fubao. Fubao is so small that it just has weak immunity. Even if members of Black Pink have no awareness of matters needing attention, why do others not inform them?" one Chinese Blackpink fan told Global Times.

"Popular science: Except for panda zookeepers and veterinarians, people who come into close contact with giant pandas may make them sick," another fan wrote on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, per CentKent. "The cosmetics used by Korean artists can also irritate giant pandas. And if they have pets at home and still interact with pandas, they may cause the pandas to suffer from the deadly canine distemper virus."

Other fans, however, defended Blackpink from the criticism and expressed support for Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé.

“The problem is that the focus of Chinese criticism is not Everland but BLACKPINK. Did the Chinese really raise this issue out of their love of pandas? I don't think so,” one fan commented on the episode sneak peek.

“If the Chinese really loved pandas, they should have blamed the zoo instead of BP. I saw all the articles and posts written by the Chinese on Baidu that said, ‘Korean girl groups have illegal contact with pandas,’ was ranked fourth in the rankings. It's just to witch hunt BP, not because the Chinese love pandas,” wrote another.

“Blackpink can breathe and people will find a way to criticize them. like just chill they aren't doing anything bad and if they were it isn't on purpose,” a third Blackpink fan commented on a video posted by K-Buzz.

“There are panda keepers who are with them all throughout this whole episode. I mean these keepers are with them to guide them on what to do and what not to do. They are not there to just stand and watch. Antis are just really making nonsense allegations,” another fan wrote.

The giant panda and its baby, which was born in South Korea this year, are not owned by the South Korean zoo. Nearly all giant pandas in the world belong to the Chinese government, which allows zoos to rent them for a period of time.

Called "panda diplomacy," the loan of pandas could cost zoos up to $1 million each year, Koreaboo reported. Zoos are also required to pay $400,000 in taxes if a baby panda is born in their care.

The China Giant Panda Conservation & Research Center will be investigating the matter, per Koreaboo. The outlet also said that the girl group’s Chinese fansite, Blackpink Bar, has reached out to Blackpink's label, YG Entertainment, and requested the withdrawal of the episode before it releases in full on YouTube.

Jennie Kim, Rosé, Lisa, Jisoo - BLACKPINK
Roger Kisby/Getty Images for YouTube