The Korea Herald


Homage gone wrong: Yena removes 'Hate Rodrigo' music video, cancels promotion

Hostility mounts as artist remains silent on the controversy surrounding inappropriate references to Olivia Rodrigo

By Choi Ji-won

Published : July 2, 2023 - 20:12

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Screenshots of Yena's Screenshots of Yena's "Hate Rodrigo" music video (left) and Olivia Rodrigo's "Deja Vu" music video, both from YouTube (Left-Yue Hua Entertainment/Right-Geffen Records)

K-pop singer Yena's cheeky attempt to express her reverence for Olivia Rodrigo seems to have fallen flat, with the music video for her new song, "Hate Rodrigo," being taken following a series of controversies.

Yena, who goes by Choi Yena in Korea, released her new single on Tuesday, along with a music video. The song was highly anticipated, especially as it features the collaboration of Yena and her best friend Yuqi from the girl group (G)I-DLE.

The song's lyrics, which were partly written by Yena, speak of the "cute" jealousy the singer holds towards the person she admires most.

"Rodrigo" in the title refers to American pop star Olivia Rodrigo, who the singer said she looks up to, while the music video also features images and imitations of Rodrigo.

But it seems like only controversy lies at the end of the singer's attempt at homage.

On Thursday, following a series of accusations surrounding the references to Rodrigo and her past concepts, as well as the inappropriate naming of the song -- placing "hate" in front of someone's name -- the music video was made private on YouTube.

Yena's agency, Yue Hua Entertainment, did not give any explanation about its decision to pull the video at first, and the public started to assume the video was removed at Rodrigo's request.

The agency finally broke its silence Friday, denying the rumors that Rodrigo had requested the removal of the video.

"We discovered possible violations of trademark rights, portrait rights and copyright in the music video and removed it from the public domain," the company said Friday, adding that the video will be posted again once it has been edited.

The music label did not comment on the other controversies regarding the song's title and concept.

Despite the snowballing hostility, Yena continued promotional activities for the song while remaining silent on the controversy, only opening herself up to more public backlash.

On Saturday, the singer canceled her shoot for MBC's "Show! Music Core" due to bad health.

"We ask for your understanding on the frequent shifts in schedule. We'll do our best for the improvement of the artist's condition," it added.