On April 1, Kim Jaejoong of the Korean pop band JYJ worried fans when he posted on Instagram that he had been “infected with COVID-19 virus.”
Fans took to social media to offer support, and news outlets began covering the announcement.
But it was all a hoax.
Kim’s now-deleted post was in fact an April Fools’ Day joke — something the singer revealed an hour after his initial post, according to the New York Times.
His fans weren’t happy.
The outrage over the insensitive prank led the K-pop star to briefly delete his Instagram account, Insider reports.
Shortly after deactivating his account, Kim reactivated it to share a post addressing his mistake. In his apology, the singer also said he “wanted to convey the dangerousness of the current situation” and “hoped that people would be more aware and therefore we could minimize the number of people who suffer because of COVID-19.”
The Hill reports that some critics are calling for the South Korean government to formally punish Kim for the prank. One petition even has more than 13,000 signatures.
In his apology, Kim said he would be willing to accept all punishment he may receive for his prank, according to Fox News. But CNN reports that South Korean government officials say the singer is unlikely to receive any formal punishment as he didn’t relay false information to medical personnel or epidemiologists.